Following their earlier work, Oleg Šuran and Ivica Mitrović use their project Homo Aquaticus: HABITAT ST21 project to inspect the future further. Jacques Cousteaus’ visit to Split in 1977 inspired this project, which reflects the city’s reality: torn between unplanned tourism and the influx of people on one side and the rushing climate changes on the other. Building upon their last research (exhibited in 2021 in the Gallery of Fine Arts), which dealt with local communities and their resilience, these designers reinvent speculation, only this time they are collaborating with the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture.

The project uses speculation to explore possible implications of global climate, technology, economy, and politics in the local context of the Adriatic. Mitrović and Šuran do not romanticize the high-modernist and pop-culture visions of the future and submarine life, such as Jacques Cousteau’s submarine structures “Précontinent”. Instead, they are focusing on the potential utopian submarine habitats and near-future communities, as well as local, micro-models of resilience, and they also speculate about the man’s possible return to the sea, inspired by Coustea’s idea of an underwater man (Homo Aquaticus). This work investigates spaces that are not spaces for utopian new beginnings but spaces of transitioning the present towards some new, different identities, as well as the collective futures of the city.

The exhibition is part of an intensive discourse program of the Croatian pavilion (Venice Biennale of Architecture) and will include an international workshop at the Arts Academy that will use interdisciplinary approaches and education formats to deal with a series of topics opened by this exhibition.

Ivica Mitrović and Oleg Šuran

Production: Arts Academy of the University of Split Sound: Niko MihaljevićSpeculative paper: Kristina TešijaPartners: CHAIR OF NAVAL ARCHITECTURE (FESB), Mladen Šolić (IOF)Acknowledgment: Dražen Škabar (Element projekt d.o.o.)

Funded by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Split.