Curatorial Statement

by Josephine Michau, Curator of Coastal Imaginaries

“Rising seas are sinking futures.” *

In the past century, the temperature of the global ocean has increased more rapidly than at any given time in the past 11,000 years. Even in the miraculous scenario of global warming being successfully limited to 1.5° C, future generations will still encounter critical rises in sea level which will threaten lives, jeopardize access to water, food and health care, decimate jobs, and disrupt entire economies.

Coastal Imaginaries takes you back to the future of landscapes and building methods, presenting nature-based design solutions in an age of human-based environmental destruction. Through a composite of speculative scenography and displays of novel research projects, the exhibition invites the audience to explore the spatial logistics of the coastal realm and its field of fluctuating forces, destabilizing and disclosing the terrestrial bias of human headspace and habitats.

Setting out to be a laboratory of hope in the midst of universal hopelessness, Coastal Imaginaries offers a catalogue of proposals for a coastal future grounded in seven nature-based principles. These principles do not merely stretch across time and vast landscapes, but address as well the pressing perspective of the contemporary urgencies of flooding and storm surges. Beyond simply being mechanisms of resilience, these strategies can serve as carbon sinks, foodscapes, material banks, and spaces for human recreation and more-than-human habitation.

Offering a way to (re)synchronize with nature, the seven principles hint toward a re-enchantment with natural ecologies through changing practices within the architectural profession. However, architecture needs allies, and therefore we must cross disciplinary and institutional boundaries to learn from each other and, most importantly, cultivate the political will to instigate radical change. This is why Coastal Imaginaries is structured as a collective and collaborative effort of artists, craftspeople, practitioners and researchers coming from a wide and varied array of disciplines.

The production of this exhibition has aimed at a low carbon footprint. The majority of the materials used are recycled from past exhibitions, and it has been designed to be disassembled and reassembled for future exhibitions already planned in the years 2024 and 2025.

* Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres at the first-ever open debate on the impact of sea level rise on international peace and security in the UN Security Council on February 14, 2023.

Josephine Michau,
Curator of Coastal Imaginaries

As we have reached the limits of our planetary boundaries, we have no choice but to act now. We all have a responsibility to do what we can. If we are to create a better future we need new imaginaries of how we can be on this planet. Coastal Imaginaries is offering a glimpse into a different way of connecting with nature and practicing architecture than the dominating excavating and destructive practice.

– Josephine Michau, curator of Coastal Imaginaries for interview with Parametric Archi


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Entrance to the Danish Pavilion


Coastal Imaginaries is the name of the Danish Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in 2023. Critical Coast is the name of the publication made in connection with it.

This place aims at gathering a lot of the inspiration and knowledge surrounding the project and is growing along the span of the exhibition.