INTERFERENCE International Light Art Project

INTERFERENCE is an international exhibition project dedicated to contemporary art featuring light and light-based media.

INTERFERENCE 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 the 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.

From the beginning of 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 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.

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.

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 a 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 programs by mixing building blocks of basic 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.

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, 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.

Since 2020, due to the Corona pandemic, we working on smaller-scale projects, and instead of producing one large public event, we work year-round featuring residencies, workshops, study, and research programs.

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