We make it happen
INTERFERENCE is an international exhibition project dedicated to light and media-based contemporary art. It takes place in various sites throughout the Medina of Tunis and attracts large and diverse audiences. In a country where there are only a few art associations, foundations, galleries, and museums committed to contemporary art, INTERFERENCE is an initiative of civil society that hosts art in public space. We believe that a democratic society needs opportunities to experience art, to see and feel it, to ask questions and to learn about it, and to be part of discussion and critical debate. Art experience and understanding, art mediating and reviewing, curating and artistic production are organic parts of our intellectual tissue, and we love to juggle with multi-faceted frameworks and transversal settings because we believe that they are essentials of a democratic and peaceful society in a healthy habitat.
We are a driving force
From the beginning in 2016, the INTERFERENCE initiative linked enthusiasm for contemporary art, collective engagement, and educational programs to stage a contemporary art project in the Medina of Tunis. One of the leading ideas is to deepen the link with this unique cultural heritage environment by allowing interaction, engagement, and discussion via contemporary art. Students and young professionals of all backgrounds responded to the initiative of the curatorial tandem of Aymen Gharbi and Bettina Pelz. Supported by experienced artists, locally and internationally, we grew into a community that cares for ideas, learns what is needed, and successfully established a biennial public art project. The year-round activities in the background generated an open community that continues to enjoy living, learning, and working collectively. Through meeting local and international artists, and with engaging with visitors from the neighborhood and from around the world. INTERFERENCE helps us understand the world we are living in and provides us with tools to change it for the better.
We have them all
The attractive INTERFERENCE atmosphere is coined by young and creative Tunisians, still inspired by the Arab Spring and encouraged to engage with society, to occupy public space, and to reflect on our way of living and working. We attract art lovers but we are also known for our engagement of sustainable ecological developments: ZERO TRACE is a benchmark for all our activities. From the beginning, we were an international team, diverse in backgrounds, age, and gender identities. Through our broad diversity, we link to all societal clusters and settings and involve them in the project. Our mediation programs address our neighbors as many kinds of audiences of all ages. Our debates are open to everyone, locally and internationally. INTERFERENCE is a transdisciplinary, trans-belief, and transnational event, a new form of societal encounter that allows us to meet, to see, and to shift. We are proud to host this project and we are happy that we created a situation to bring the Medina to life at night. We generate momentum for contemporary art and at the same time, we create a moment where we can meet with our extended families, friends and the society we are home in.
We care for art experiences
Due to the uncertainties caused by the Corona crisis, INTERFERENCE Community shifts to a new exhibition system allowing a high degree of flexibility in response to the varying conditions of public space and of collective being. The new format follows the NO-C recommendations for public events after the Coronavirus hit: no crowds, no close contact, no contagion.
To avoid crowds, INTERFERENCE will enhance the decentral aspect of the multi-site exhibition program allowing visitors to keep their distance. To prevent close contact when indicated, mediation, debate, and documentation formats are developed to allow personal interaction when possible and to be digital when needed. To avoid contagion, INTERFERENCE extends the exhibition hours from four days to six months. This will allow visitors to see the artwork in small groups or individually. These drastic measures allow us to care for what is at the core of INTERFERENCE what is the individual art experience.
Beyond increasing the onsite activities, INTERFERENCE also expands its online activities: digital meetings, virtual talks and cybernetic interaction has coined the INTERFERENCE preparations and will alter the composition of the exhibition and the mediation program. While the onsite art experience is indispensable, artists’ talks, context information, and documentation can be provided online. Meet-ups, salons, and conferences can take place onsite and online. INTERFERENCE will share the digital push with its audience.
To continue international involvement with respect to travel restrictions, INTERFERENCE improves online cooperation and remote art production. To maintain international exchange, networking, and communication, new hybrid formats are explored. To pursue access to artwork, creative chats, and deepening debate in times of physical distancing, new channels and formats are opened. To explore the digital dimension even further, INTERFERENCE will host for the first time an online exhibition program of artworks that explore the digital tissue without taking space in the physical world.
We keep on building
INTERFERENCE Series is a project of incremental and continuous production. INTERFERENCE will start in September 2020 with four artworks, each at their own separate and specific site in the Medina of Tunis. In the months to follow, additional artworks/sites will be added to reach an accumulative total of twelve sites by the end of February 2021. Each site hosting artwork will stay open and active for up to six months. When one site closes, another will open, resulting in a total of twelve active sites around The Medina.
We like to celebrate
In addition to the INTERFERENCE Collection, we will host short-term public events. Whenever the public health situation will allow it, we will create pop-up events with temporary light art interventions in selected sites, with immersive audio-visual environments, public debates and festive encounters. With these events, we can generate the crowds as we have known them from the previous years. The pop-up events are an essential building block to spark audience versatility throughout the year.
We co-work with institutions, initiatives, shops, and coffee-bars in the Medina
The choice of sites will mirror the lively urban fabric of the Medina and beyond. INTERFERENCE will cooperate with institutions, initiatives, shops, and coffee-bars in the Medina and Downtown to allow artworks to be set up in public spaces that are protected. Artists will be invited to work site-specifically and respond to the local contexts that result in a unique exhibition project that is tied to its environment.
We will assist everyone onsite and online
INTERFERENCE will come with an intensive mediation program that includes onsite and online guided tours, themed workshops, artists’ talks, and curatorial discussions. Special programs for kindergartens, schools, and universities will be added.
To allow audiences to self-navigate the multi-site exhibition, a digital map will provide information on the sites, the artworks, and the artists. The app will be bilingual, available in Tunisian dialect and English, and can easily serve locals, guests, and tourists. It will include a mix of text, images, audio, and video formats that will inform and entertain the visitors.
INTERFERENCE AL MADRASSA
We are a learning system
From 2020 onward, INTERFERENCE AL MADRASA will be a year-round program that offers professional training in project management, curatorial and artistic production, and arts and context mediation. INTERFERENCE AL MADRASA offers a structured course path aimed to empower and further educate young professionals with diverse backgrounds who wish to engage with contemporary art in Tunisia.
The curriculum is directly related to INTERFERENCE as an international exhibition project with focus on light and media art. It addresses all aspects, including curatorial, production, mediation, communication, and project management. The interactive series of presentations, lectures and workshops will provide knowledge and foster competencies for all INTERFERENCE accomplices to confidently organize themselves in the field, assist artists, and accompany the audience.
Participants can build their individual program by mixing building blocks of basics instructions, contextual knowledge, and personalized aspects. Participating in classes, training, and fields of practice they can collect credits that lead to a certificate and a letter of recommendation. The program will be realized in cooperation with different universities from around the country.
INTERFERENCE AL MADRASA will host a YOUNG MASTERS’ PROGRAM to coach emerging artists to develop and realize an artwork in public space. The participants will meet with professional curators to reflect on their artistic approaches. To broaden their technical knowledge and to grasp the latest technologies, they will be instructed by media technicians. To improve documentation and dissemination, audience interaction and critical debate participants will co-work with emerging curators from the TASAWAR Curatorial Studios.
INTERFERENCE AL MADRASA will host an ARTISTS’ ACCELERATOR reflecting on the working and living conditions of experienced artists in Tunisia to strengthen knowledge and network into the international contexts of art. The program will be developed with Tunisian artists that have been working and profiting from their involvement with INTERFERENCE.
We talk to everybody
The INTERFERENCE Community is a strong multiplicator of information and acts as a magnet for large audiences. Around 200 accomplices are involved in getting the exhibition project on the way, and they bring their families, friends, and colleagues to share the INTERFERENCE experience. In 2018, 20.000 visitors came to see the international exhibition project resulting from each visitor either talking to an accomplice, seeing a post on social media or visiting our website. We will strengthen this interaction with our audience and develop new onsite and online formats to see, discuss and further INTERFERENCE together.
Our communication tools are our website, different social media channels, a digital map with embedded information to navigate the project, and posters that indicate sites and a navigation system to find the sites. We are a dedicated ZERO TRACE project and don’t produce printed materials for one-time use.
We need you to make it happen
INTERFERENCE happens by a collective effort, initiated by few, cared for by many. The entire system works resource-oriented, we grow when and where we find support. Any kind of support is welcomed, we need cooperation, helpful materials, shared knowledge, dedicated time, working spaces, hospitality support, communication, and finances. Together is the only way we can do it.