22 AUG — 3 SEP 2023 Tunis

“The topic WATER MATTERS was a sensitive one”, said Aymen Gharbi, “and even more after the PUBLIC LAB days. We were happy to see that within a few days, the word got around and that the present water urgencies became a topic investigated and discussed in public. We created a situation that worked as a crossway for different communities; the theme attracted some people, and others came because of their interest in contemporary art. We were happy to see the flow of exchange and collective action.”

The INTERFERENCE SUMMER PROJECT took place from 22 August to 3 September 2023. It encompassed a PUBLIC LAB with lectures, debates, and workshops on the present water challenges, a collective artistic experimentation titled THE WATER LILLIES PROJECT, and an exhibition project titled WATER MATTERS. From 31 August to 2 September 2023, national and international artists presented new light and light-based-media artworks in Palais Khreireddine (City’s Museum) and Dar Ben Achour (City’s History Museum) in the Medina of Tunis.

PUBLIC LAB — THE WATER LILLIES PROJECT — WATER WATTERS. INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel, Bettina Pelz.

31 AUG — 2 SEP 2023 Dar Ben Achour / Palais Kheireddine
International Exhibition Project

“Looking back”, Khadouja Tamzini from the INTERFERENCE team said, “all the discussions were valuable, and my knowledge and awareness changed. But the most rewarding part of this trip was the exhibition. Seeing how much people are fascinated by artworks, having many conversations, and sharing creative processes – this is what I live for. It makes me feel effective and successful. All of this is worth the many weeks, the days and nights, the much work.”

Thirteen (out of sixteen) new works were on display, developed, and produced distinctly for this exhibition. The exhibition contributions included observations of water in nature as artistic inspiration and addressed water as an ecological habitat. They featured artistic contemplations of scientific water investigations and aesthetic experiments in the play of light and water. Two of the sixteen works dealt with the overwhelming confrontation of man and climate change.

The selection of the artists was based on their previous artistic practice. There was no open call for this project. The teams of the European festivals of light LUNA in Leeuwarden (nl) and RGB in Rome (it) contributed to the selection of artists. From Tunis’ twin city Cologne (de), a selection of artists was participating as part of the artists’ exchange project ON PLINY’S PATHS.

The curators didn’t intend to develop a unified narrative but to show diverse artistic positions in a discursive setting. Different art forms, such as objects, installations, and interventions, were displayed between Palais Kheireddine (eight positions) and Dar Ben Achour (eight positions). Some artworks were silent, others sounding; some were closed systems, others interactive.

WATER MATTERS. INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel, Bettina Pelz, Gudrun Barenbrock.

Anne Fie Salverda
LUNA Leeuwarden

On the facade of Palais Kheireddine, Anne Fie Salverda showed a large-scale architecture projection for which she inserted facetted crystal spheres into the projection beam, distorting her animated hand drawings of water creatures. The movements in the animation shifted between moments of figurative imagery and colorful undulations on the façade of the Palais Kheireddine.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Bettina Pelz.


A share of the artworks was rooted in the observation of nature. The beholding of nature as a source of inspiration has a rich and longstanding tradition in the arts. It dates back to ancient civilizations and has continued to evolve through various artistic movements and styles. The participating artists studied nature, immersed themselves in the environment, and looked into landscapes, flora, fauna, weather, and natural phenomena. This close examination allowed them to discover knowledge to be explored in artistic processing.

Gudrun Barenbrock

For Dar Ben Achour, Gudrun Barenbrock has developed a 3-part video installation. She has compiled photo and film footage showing micro and macro structures of lakes, rivers, and seas. For her video montages, she combined different photography techniques. Part of her experimental approach is an artistic play with the frequency with which successive images (frames) are displayed.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Bettina Pelz.

Jazmin Rojas Forero

The installation by Jazmin Rojas Forero was modeled on the inside of a plant that supplies itself with water through condensation of atmospheric moisture. The custom-made glass container was filled with ice daily, and the temperature difference caused condensation, forming water drips on its outer surface. These fell into a ceramic vessel that could be associated with the stem of the plants.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Brahim Guedich.

Jazmin Rojas Forero showed a second installation consisting of a lightbox displaying a celestial being listening to the sound of a water environment. It was juxtaposed with a ceramic object inspired by the inside of the human ear. It served as a sounding chamber, and the audience could listen to field recordings of the lake depicted in the lit photograph.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Brahim Guedich.

Juan Francisco Rodriguez

The artist collected lichens and mosses in Cologne and Tunis and pressed them into glass frames. Inserted in slide projectors, he presented a selection of their shadowplays.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.


A share of the artworks worked with scientific processing and with scientific analysis. The intersection of art and science reflects a growing trend where artists draw inspiration from scientific principles and methodologies or collaborate with scientists to explore and communicate complex ideas. Participating artists applied scientific experimentation or utilized data sets to generate new visual representations, engaging aesthetically or visualizing scientific phenomena by exploring data patterns.

Dorra Hichri

Microscopic images of dried water were Dorra Hichri’s artistic material. Under a polarizing filter, the properties of light — invisible to the eye — were translated into perceptible properties into differences in brightness and colors. Thus, the crystalline structures of piped or seawater of sugar and salt solutions appeared as colored surfaces in the projection.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Zeineb Kaabi

Zeineb Kaabi has explored the importance of the pH scale in determining water quality. For her video installation, she combined numerical long-term scientific observations of the development of water quality around the world with found water footage and edited it with animation software.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.


A share of the artworks address the growing waste streams that affect water environments. The artistic research extends beyond the immediate environmental concerns, encompassing aesthetic, conceptual, and cultural dimensions. The artists engaging with waste in water environments explore unconventional materials, textures, and forms, pushing the boundaries of traditional artistic expression. The aesthetic choices contribute to a heightened awareness of the visual impact of the environmental shifts, the alterations of ecosystems, and the broader natural world.

Hamza Chakroun

Hamza Chakroun addressed the growing flow of plastic waste in the oceans. The starting point of his video animation was his childhood memories of unpolluted beaches, crystal clear water, and magical-beautiful sunlight reflections. He showed these in a 1-channel video projection. As the visitors approached the installation, typical plastic water bottles appeared in the projection.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Brahim Guedich / Videostill.

Haifa Ouerfelli

Haifa Ouerfelli has continued her artistic series on e-waste, working with CDs, which are no longer used as storage media, as reflectors. She mounted countless fragments on a textile carrier material supported by a wooden structure, allowing her to move it mechanically in a wave-like manner. The interplay created a diverse play of light on the room’s ceiling.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Brahim Guedich.


A share of the artwork experimented with the optical interplay of water and light. The experimentations explored water’s and light’s ephemeral and dynamic qualities and revealed aesthetically striking phenomena. These artistic endeavors pushed the boundaries of perception through their creative exploration and contributed to a deeper appreciation of the knowledge embedded in aesthetics. “Each dewdrop is in this sense a cinematographic manifestation, a film projector of the world surrounding it,” described Juan Francisco Rodriguez.

Juan Francisco Rodriguez

In a niche formerly housing the house fountain of Dar Ben Achour, he showed a small installation. He displayed a single frame from a film sequence between a luminous surface and a glass sphere in his artistic translation of the water drop as an image carrier. The image shows reflections of sunlight on a water surface.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Another installation explored the inside of a crystallized quarz in an optical setting, combining a light, a lens, and a screen.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Flavia Tritto

Flavia Tritto showed a video installation inspired by the play of light in water droplets. Like optical lenses, they can bundle light rays, focus them, and even project an image. She filmed water drops reflecting their surroundings and mounted them in a series. She projected them onto a reflective fabric, which reorded the light image in its own way.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Yassin Agrbi

Yassin Agrbi developed a 3-part kinetic installation. He staged a play of light and shadow employing three cut glasses, which he filled with different waters. He mounted them on small platforms on which they rotated. From colored LEDs mounted on the same platforms emerged shadow plays.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.


A share of the artworks addressed the metaphorical dimensions of water, as in the flow of tears, the drift of memories, or the flux of thought. In exploring the associations of water, these artworks not only evoked personal and universal themes but also showcased the versatility of water as a symbol that transcends cultural, emotional, and psychological boundaries. The fluidity and malleability of water allowed the artists to develop a nuanced visual language to touch on the complexities of the human experience.

Siryne Eloued

Siryne Eloued showed a glass bottle that she had filled with her tear fluid. She focused on the effort and personal burden associated with the current water emergency.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Wafa Lazhari

Wafa Lazhari built 3d environments of the summer home of her childhood, referencing distorted proportions, dissolving surfaces, and fading contexts.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor.

Rima Khraief

Rima Khraief presented a kinetic system of natural stones found on water sites, touchable screens, water surfaces, and film footage. The video showed a collection of gestures associated with the collection, sorting, and cleaning of pebbles polished by water. She created a metaphorical field with the mix of materials onsite, the technical construction, the image contents, and the possibility for the audience to interact.

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Ouafa Benamor.

22 — 30 AUG 2023 Palais Kheireddine
Learning about the present water challenges

“The exhibition then brought other, new aspects into awareness. In the PUBLIC LAB, we approached the topic from different angles. For some of the presentations, we invited experts, some came from environmental activists, and for some of the topics, we compiled material ourselves and discussed it with each other. We all helped to develop a comprehensive understanding of the current, complicated situation,” explained Feyrouz Nouri from the INTERFERENCE team, “… and just as we invited experts for the PUBLIC LAB, for the exhibition program, we asked artists to present their view on water as a material of art or more generally on the thematic field of water, nature and environment.”

Falling reservoir levels and increasingly minimal rainfall are affecting all Mediterranean countries. Dwindling water reserves have been continuously traced back to Tunisia for over two decades. Across the country, the population’s livelihoods are threatened by an increasing lack of water. At the same time, the water demand is continuously growing, especially in irrigation-intensive agriculture and tourism. Agriculture, industry, and tourism consume more water than is available long-term from inflows or rainfall. The decline in groundwater is due to two main factors: falling precipitation levels and illegal deep well construction. Overexploitation primarily affects groundwater, with groundwater levels dropping yearly throughout the country.

In addition, the infrastructure needs to be more adequately repaired, with water losses from dilapidated pipes that date back to the times of the French protectorate. Many soils are silting up and becoming saline. The 2023 harvests are estimated to be 50 percent lower than the previous year. In response to the worsening water crisis, Tunisian President Saied declared a water emergency in mid-April. In the southern parts of the country, which were particularly affected, the water supply was stopped during the night hours, and in the north, the pressure in the water pipes was throttled by 30 percent at night.

The lectures, roundtables, and workshops of the PUBLIC LAB provided insights, looked into backgrounds, and sparked discussions that increased awareness of the ongoing crisis. Sharing knowledge, understanding dependencies, and raising awareness resulted in developing individual and collective action options.

“I was surprised to discover the amount of work it takes to realize such a program with many discussions and the exhibition program,” said Khadouja Tamzini. She has been involved since 2022, “…, and as for many others, INTERFERENCE allowed me to see behind the scenes of the art world. I am here to see how light and media art installations are created. Little by little, I understand the great effort that goes into each piece of art. My life has changed since I’ve been part of such a vibrant and diverse artistic community.”

INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel, Bettina Pelz.

Over the last few years, INTERFERENCE has featured a variety of projects on waste in public spaces, plastic in the oceans, and the growing e-waste waste stream. “I am a scientist, and I am part of the community because INTERFERENCE uses art to address issues such as nature, the environment, and society,” Khadouja Tamzini described her motivation, “from my point of view, environmental problems affect us all, regardless of our background. The health of our planet requires common, interdisciplinary solutions. With INTERFERENCE, I see the opportunity to combine science and art and to promote social awareness and a deeper understanding of these issues. By uniting diverse perspectives, we can inspire change and foster sustainable developments to have a real impact on our collective future.”

5 — 29 AUG 2023
Experimenting with light and light-based media

Part of the INTERFERENCE SUMMER PROJECT was an initiative dedicated to active community members to experiment with artistic approaches. Individual examples were discussed in THE WATER LIGHT EXPERIMENTS, while THE WATER PROJECT highlighted artistic cooperation between emerging artists, young masters, and experienced professionals.

INTERFERENCE is regularly supported by Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Goethe Institut, and the Institut Français, also because it is a scene in which mainly young people are involved. In Tunisia, as around the world, young people are increasingly committed to digital art forms and creative technologies, to be seen on stages, in clubs, and at festivals. With options to learn about new technologies, to find help in learning new software, and opportunities to experiment with artistic content, INTERFERENCE is a unique framework in the country.

THE WATER LILLIES PROJECT. INTERFERENCE Tunis 2023. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel, Bettina Pelz, Farook Sfaxi, Yassine Thabet.


It was not the first time the two museums hosted the INTERFERENCE project. Since the beginning of 2016, INTERFERENCE has been dedicated to contemporary art in dialogue with cultural heritage. This surfaces in the choice of sites and includes conceptual aspects referencing the cultural history of light in North Africa, at the turnstile of the African, Arab, and European Cultures. In their experience-oriented approach, the curatorial concepts refer to the knowledge of light as a medium of seeing as described by Ibn Al Haythem1Ibn Al Haythem was an Arab scholar of the 10th and 11th centuries. His contributions to studying the nature of light and vision are considered the foundation of modern optics. He introduced light as the primordial medium of vision. He influenced how artists represented light and shadow, space and perspective in works of art. His observations of inverted images in the camera obscura led to the realization of how light is used to capture and project images. This was an essential step towards photography, even though it took several more centuries before the first cameras and photography processes were developed.. Other parameters emerge from reflections on juxtaposing the Phoenician mosaics of the 9th century BC with the digital grids of the high-resolution projectors of the 21st century, reflecting on the history of visual culture from mosaic to pixel. INTERFERENCE stands for public art projects rooted in the local culture and responsive to the present-day Medina of Tunis.

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