How is the project operated?
Interference Archive functions somewhere between an nonprofit and an artist-run space. We are self-organized and self-funded, and although we do not make a profit, we have no specific legal status as such.
How long has it been in existence?
We opened in December 2011.
What was your motivation?
The Interference Archive explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in public exhibitions, a study center, talks, screenings, publications, workshops, and an on-line presence. The archive consists of many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, moving images, audio recordings, and other printed matter. Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
The Archive has three main organizers and a large group of supporters, around a dozen regular volunteers and almost 75 “sustainers” who help us pay the rent and fund programming.
How are programs funded?
As above, we have a sustainer program, where a large number of people pay us a small amount per month, from $5 to $50.
Who is responsible for the programming?
The three principal organizers are responsible for the programming, but others help out, make suggestions, guest curate, etc, etc.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
In our first year we will have held 5 exhibitions which hang for a month to three months each, almost a dozen film screenings, and over a half dozen presentations and workshops.
What kind of events are usually organized?
How is your programming determined?
Our programming grows out of our exhibitions, which in turn develop from a combination of the holdings of the Archive, and what is going on in the world that relates to social movement culture.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
As of now our programming initiatives are internally generated.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We believe that animating our past will give us tools for unsettling the present, and open up opportunities for new and more just futures. By providing open access to the culture produced by people mobilizing for social change, we hope to connect people to a lineage of ideas, art strategies, and cultural tactics which can be deployed today to improve our lives.
What’s working? What’s not working?
It’s hard to assess much in the first year, but we are bursting at the seams with materials and have been having extremely well attended exhibitions and events. Our next steps are doing more outreach to get a broader public into the door and using the archive’s materials for research and idea creation, as well as deeper cataloging and organizing of the tens of thousands of posters, publications, moving image, audio, and ephemera the collection contains.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We see a distinction between “political art” and what we call “social movement culture.” The most effective political culture is often not simply self-expression, but expression working in concert with people mobilizing on the ground to improve their lives. We hope to be able to to connect socially-minded artists to culturally-sensitive political activists and organizers, and vice-versa, building a richer fabric to understand both cultural work and politics.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
We’re a new organization and each day has new challenges and struggles. We look forward to having all the basics of running our space in place, so that we can focus further on outreach and programming, building the collection, and making connections with like-minded and interested organizations and individuals.
For the next two months we are pleased to partner with Artist-Run Alliance to feature a series of profiles of their member projects and spaces. Artist-Run Alliance (ARA) is an international community of independent artist-run spaces who wish to share knowledge through the collective exchange of ideas and networks.