Interference Archive was founded in 2011 by Kevin Caplicki, Molly Fair, Dara Greenwald, and Josh MacPhee. Our initial collection grew out of the personal accumulation of Dara and Josh, who amassed an extensive collection of materials including books, prints, music, moving images, and ephemera through their involvement in social movements, DIY and punk, and political art projects over the past 25 years.
Together with Molly and Kevin’s skills, knowledge, and commitment, they envisioned turning these personal collections into a public archive, with open-access to materials for the communities who created them, and with archival work conducted by movement participants with firsthand knowledge of its historical context. We realized their vision with the helping hands and dedication of our friends, families, and communities, and in December 2011, Interference Archive opened its doors.
Since 2011, Interference Archive has launched 16 exhibitions and held more than 100 public events. We have seen a direct correlation to the growth of our community alongside each exhibition that we mount. We have also seen an increase in donations of unique material to our collection as the profile of Interference Archive grows. This increases our ability to meet the goals of our mission, providing better access to materials generated by social movements and more resources for people who visit and use our space.
Here are some highlights:
• An open-access, open-stack archive of cultural ephemera produced by and for social movements worldwide
• Over 16 exhibitions, including the Persistence of Dreams, a retrospective of work by Sublevarte Collectivo from Mexico City; Radioactivity! Anti-nuclear Movements from Three Mile Island to Fukushima, co-curated with Todos Somos Japon; Àvenir (“Future”), an installation by the Montreal-based design collective Ècole de la Montagne Rouge, active in the Quebec student strike of 2012; Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York, curated by Ryan Wong; and Self-Determination Inside/Out: Prison Movements Transforming Society.
• Comprehensive exhibition publications: catalogs/timelines/maps for RadioActivity!, Serve the People, The Persistence of Dreams, and Self-Determination Inside/Out, Documents from the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and We Won’t Move: Tenants Organize in New York City.
• Over 100 talks and workshops, including the history of anti-war posters and graphics by archivist Carol Wells; a May Day poster critique and design charrette with Occuprint; a look at a punk- and anarchist-inspired UK football club by Bristol Radical History Group’s Roger Wilson; a presentation by Egyptian designer and activist Ganzeer; and dozens of programs related to our exhibitions.
• Film screenings in conjunction with our exhibits as well as movies such as Maggots and Men, Land of Destiny, and the premiere of The Days of the Commune.
• A number of significant donations to the collection, including over 300 political protest buttons from Eleanor Bader, hundreds of posters from African and Latin American movements and solidarity organizations from Alexis De Veaux, twenty years worth of anarchist posters from the Bound Together Bookstore in San Francisco, ephemera from European squatters movements from Alan W. Moore, a large selection of anti-nuclear and peace posters from John Miller, and a beautiful collection of Cuban posters from Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey which were originally collected by his father Carlos Vega.
The work at Interference Archive is done in the spirit and memory of Dara Greenwald, who we lost to cancer in 2012. Her ideas and energy continue to inspire us today.