Diving into the ocean with the Ocean&Climate Village exhibition

IOC-UNESCO kicked off its first travelling exhibition, Ocean&Climate Village, on 1 October 2021 in Milan, Italy. Organised by the IOC Project office at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, within the framework of Pre-COP26 and in the context of the Ocean Decade, the aim of the exhibition is to disseminate the principles of Ocean Literacy by educating new generations about the ocean conservation. Over the 3 days, visitors experienced a multisensory, formative experience of diving into the ocean and discovering its connection with the Earth’s climate and the solutions which are already implemented to restore marine ecosystems.

Ocean&Climate Village was developed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in collaboration with the Prada Group, E.ON and GRIFAL. The exhibition was included in the list of the UNFCCC pre-COP26 side events in the framework of the All4Climate initiative.

Largely inaccessible and mostly undiscovered, the ocean is home to fascinating forms of life. With the purpose of reconnecting with the ocean in an interactive learning environment, the Ocean&Climate Village installation offers a journey to the heart of the ocean and raises awareness on its critical role for life on Earth, its future and consequently ours.

Ocean&Climate Village made its first stop in Milan at the Triennale Milano from 1-3 October for its inauguration. With itinerary interactive panels, the exhibition winded through 8 'zones', exploring issues related to the Earth’s climate, the consequences of neglecting the intrinsically valuable environment and our relationship with it.

The exhibition was enriched by two interactive installations. The ‘UpSeaDown’ show glued together art, science and design, and created an interactive experience for the young visitors of the exhibition, displaying changes in sea level from 1940 to 2100. The sound of the ocean was transported to the city through the Sound Safari acoustic exploration, allowing one to listen to the hydrophonic recordings of some cetaceans.

With the use of an interactive map and geolocation system, one could listen to the sounds of the ocean 24 hours a day by scanning the QrCodes of the totems located in the gardens of the Triennale and in the areas around the Piazza Castello, City Life, Darsena and Bosco Verticale, and connecting their earphones to smartphones and tablet devices.

Ocean&Climate Village is intended as a journey inside the ocean, from its deepness to its treasures, even to its wounds, especially regarding the issue of the climate crisis. The interactive panels and workshops show visitors to observe the ocean from a variety of points of view: climatology, species and habitats, nutrition, culture, environmental conservation and the concerns faced by the ocean today.

We brought together scientists, designers, exhibition installers to make sure this was an emotional journey. What makes us most happy is that we have created a collective of young illustrators who have accompanied the researchers in the story,” underlined Francesca Santoro, IOC Programme Specialist, Ocean Literacy. “I’m not saying that everyone should become a marine scientist but one can be an illustrator, a journalist, a lawyer and attend to the ocean and its conservation.”

The Ocean&Climate Village exhibition was attended by 1,500 visitors and ample space was allocated for the active participation of all visitors, young and old. Guided tours and free workshops, created in collaboration with the University of Milan-Bicocca provided a deeper insight into the ocean and climate for students and those who were curious to explore the relationship. “We want to help amplify and spread sustainable behaviours and correct lifestyles for the common goal of a better world," concluded Davide Villa, Chief Customer Officer and Board Member of E.On Italia.