In Dialogue: Contemporary Art and Cultural Heritage

September 7 to 9, 2018 _ 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm

This conference seeks to engage in an open multi-disciplinary analysis of the interplay of contemporary art and cultural heritage. Set in the UNESCO World Heritage of the Medina of Tunis, the idea of the conference is to review the links between the past, the present and the future as they are built and used in context-specific approaches of contemporary art.

The conference aims to be a transdisciplinary forum open to artists, designers and architects, curators, art mediators and art producers, art historians and design thinkers, heritage researchers and caretakers, sociocultural scientists and engineering experts, cultural activists and political decision makers. Its goal is to generate new links between old and young, local and global, academic and free spirits to engender an osmosis of interest and attention, knowledge and expertise, ambition and enthusiasm.

We want to reflect on what is cultural heritage and what we want it to be. Therefore, we would like to refer to the processes of attention drawing, parameter development and choice-making in cultural heritage development. We are looking for innovative concepts, philosophical statements or art projects dedicated to cultural heritage not only as a realm of memorizing and restoration but as a learning environment and an inspiration for a change for the better. We would like to explore cultural heritage as a daily experience and its relevance for individual and collective identity processes. We are interested to learn and to discuss how attention, care and participation on cultural heritage can be enthused and become a momento movens for present sociopolitical and sociocultural processes for a future we would like to live in. How can we shape the mindset to care for cultural heritage?

_ Review: Best Practice

We want to discuss inspiring concepts and projects of artists, designers, and architects that discuss cultural heritage whether it is natural or build environment, ecological or sociocultural contexts as well as materials. technologies or objects that are expressions of traditions and mindsets, of knowledge and beliefs. What are the projects that stretch beyond the known and where do we find the frameworks partners to produce them? We are interested to learn what contemporary art can contribute. What are good models of site- und context-related approaches in contemporary art? What are the processes of choice and decision making? Does it change anything?

The International Light Art Project INTERFERENCE gathers artists worldwide to engage in the Medina of Tunis. The second edition of INTERFERENCE is dedicated to the artists’ encounter with sites or contexts that are part of history or of collective memory, of local identity and storytelling as well as of international identification. It aims to have an impact on public culture, urban narratives and civic imaginaries. Part of the conference program is an extended visit of the exhibition program, artists’ talks and community meetings to discuss selected artworks as well as the development of the INTERFERENCE Collective.

_ Review: The Medina Of Tunis

From the 12th to the 16th century, Tunis was considered one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Arab world. It is composed of the central medina from the 8th century and suburbs to the North and South from the 13th century. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, new powers endowed the city with numerous palaces and residences, madrasas and mosques, tourbet’s [cemeteries] and zaouia’s [mausoleums]. It covers an area of approximately 2,8 km² and comprises all the features of an Arab-Muslim city with around 700 historic monuments testifying the remarkable past. With its workshops and its souks, its residential quarters and sociocultural environments, this ensemble constitutes a prototype among the best conserved in the Islamic world. Since 1997 the Medina is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The pride of it has become an integral party of the Medina’s identity, for citizens and visitors alike. INTERFERENCE is an experimental framework to revisit the Medina to reflect the present tissue of stones and facts, to promote care and participation for cultural heritage, and to alter the clichés that settled in minds and media over time. Part of the conference program will be explorative visits to the Medina with the DOORA-FEL-HOUMA Collective. Founded in 2018, this is a collective of young citizens that provides access to the contemporary Medina beyond clichés and media imagery.

_ Explorative Roundtables

On Sept 9, 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm, there will be several roundtables of networks, clusters, and projects that link to the conference subjects who will discuss how to translate the experiences and findings of the conference in their fields of practice. There will be a meeting of a cluster of African Creative Cities, one of the CANDELA Project _ a new network for Light in Visual Arts in Africa and one of the EU-cluster of international light art projects. Further options are discussed.

See the PROGRAM here >>


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