_ July 1, 2017
SEE Djerba _ An international workshop for more cultural activities in Houmt Souk
By SEE Djerba PRESS TEAM (Khouloud Benzarti, Salma Kossemtini, Maher Meriah, Bettina Pelz, Syrine Siala)
What is it?
SEE Djerba is an initiative to develop an art-in-context project on the island of Djerba. The project aims to engage with civil society, local initiatives, and diverse organizations. Guiding idea is to reflect on the role of contemporary art in socio-cultural and democratic development through a series of lectures, workshops, and experimental practice. This process will lead to developing concepts and commitment for a future participative art-in-context project in Djerba. The realization is planned for March 2019.
SEE Djerba is the second large-scale initiative by curators Aymen Gharbi and Bettina Pelz after the international light art project INTERFERENCE in the Medina of Tunis 2016. With a collective of 200 local volunteers, they realized an international art project in public space that reached 12.000 visitors in 4 days. Among the volunteers were some that live and work in Djerba. They asked the INTERFRENCE Collective to come to Djerba and to develop a project that links democratic culture and civic engagement, urban development and sharing heritage, contemporary art, and collective processes. The SEE Djerba Project from July 21 to August 4, 2017, is an international workshop to discuss and to develop an innovative concept. At the same time, it will be learning environment on contemporary art production, audience development, and project management.
In this first step, the program tackles the question “Why Art Matters?” and the role of arts in developing society and democracy. We want to discuss what would stimulate reliable civic and public engagement and we want to create a hub that creates its unique productivity. We want to steer not only the process of generating ideas but as well of concrete planning. We want to value the planning as an evaluation process through understanding and generating resources. At the same time, we want to create a framework that can convince the participants that a collective WE can make things happen.
Djerba is inscribed in the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage as of 2012 for its exceptional natural, cultural and historic heritage. The island holds a unique and iconic image both on national and international levels. The island is known for its diverse community, its values of tolerance and inclusion and the welcoming spirit of its inhabitants. The island’s economy is mainly based on tourism, a volatile and unstable source of income that needs to be reinforced by alternative initiatives to ensure a sustainable development. So far, most of the artistic and cultural activities happening in Djerba are destined to tourism and are implemented by non-local organizations. Our aim is to stimulate local initiatives to create a festival format of local interest and open to international participation.
Who does it?
The artistic directors of SEE Djerba, Aymen Gharbi and Bettina Pelz will initiate and lead an experimental process to stimulate collective productivity with support from volunteers by the INTEFERENCE Collective. They are linked strongly to the IJOU GDENA Collective that has been involved in the development of the idea and the preparations. Local, national and international experts on democratic culture, sociocultural processes, sharing heritage, city marketing and tourism will contribute to the training. At the same time, a selection of national and international artists will come to Djerba to explore the island, its architecture and heritage, its culture and its people. They will develop site- or context-specific concepts for artworks that could be realized in March 2019. All of them will offer an insight into their artistic research and development.
How is it possible?
All participants come with a contribution – either by providing knowledge, by bringing technical equipment, by paying their travel and stay or by supporting the fundraising with their network – sometimes by doing all of that. Due to the support of the ifa Cross Culture Program we had the courage to start this process and to sustain it we are thankful to our partners ASSIDJE Djerba, CCTM Djerba, COZI Djerba, DJERBA INSOLITE, IJOU GDENA, OFFICE OF TOURISM OF TUNISIA IN GERMANY.
A series of workshop will take place in Houmt Souk from the July 21st to 30. The workshop program is published online as well as a form to apply for participation. The participation needs dedication but it is free of charge. The public presentation of all the artists’ studios and the workshop results will take place on July 29, from 7.00 pm to Midnight. The access is free of charge. The audience will be asked for feedback. This feedback will be the guideline for the second part of the workshop from August 1 to 4, 2017.
How to find the sites?
The artists will choose their sites during their residency. For July 29, all sites can be found on a map that will be available on our website.
Who to contact?
Seen an email to firstname.lastname@example.org