Celebrating Interference: an art project reflecting on our first decade

November 11, 2022 by

Since 2011, Interference Archive has existed as an all-volunteer, collectively organized archive of material produced by social movements around the world. Our work as an archive includes caring for material collections donated to us; providing access through regular open hours; and activating the archive through free exhibitions and programming. More broadly, our work as a radical social space involves thinking through new ways to organize ourselves, to care for each other, and to use history as a tool for change.

In 2021, we started reflecting on a decade of Interference Archive and shared together about some of the core values that we feel have driven our work so far. These values—solidarity, memory, DIY, autonomy, community, collaboration, and mutual aid—have impacted not only our work together, but also the way we try to build relationships with our broader community. In an effort to celebrate and explore these values, we invited artist comrades to choose one and create a poster expressing their interpretation of it, to celebrate Interference with us.

On November 10, 2022, we gathered at Interference Archive for a small celebration of this project. The portfolio was displayed for the first time, and some of the artists involved in designing and creating it—Avram Finkelstein, Kevin Caplicki, as well as our printing comrades Lane and Eric from Shoestring Press—shared about the work they did on this project and their connections to Interference Archive.

We were so thrilled to see this artwork up in the world for the first time, and we hope this poster portfolio is the seed of more reflection, education, and relationship building projects to come. Check out some images below of the artwork and our launch event at Interference Archive.

November 2022 Launch Event at Interference Archive

While the production of this portfolio has been completed, it is currently unavailable for purchase. We are considering the ways that hope this can be used as a resource and organizing tool and are considering other material to include with the artwork in the portfolio. Please contact us (info@interferencearchive.org) if you are interested in obtaining the portfolio or are part of an organization that would be interested in displaying the posters.

Explore the portfolio

About the Artists and their Contributions

Tomie Arai is a public artist who was born and raised in New York. She is a founding member of the Chinatown Art Brigade; a cultural collective of Asian diasporic artists, activists and educators fighting gentrification and displacement. Arai is currently a staff member of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.

For this portfolio, Tomie designed a poster focused on the core value of community.

“Rise Up & Build Community Power” was inspired by a local community mural project celebrating the friendship of Malcolm X and Asian American activist Yuri Kochiyama. ‘From Harlem with Love: a Mural for Yuri and Malcolm” was a year-long community mural project that promoted Black and Asian solidarity through political education, community organizing and cross-cultural unity. The poster features the dozens of Black and Asian community members who participated in the project, including several generations of Yuri Kochiyama’s family. A phoenix symbolizes self determination and community power as a path rising towards social justice.

Kevin Caplicki is a farmer, artist, rabble rouser and human in the Hudson Valley of NY. He is a co-founder of Interference Archive, Visual Resistance Collective, NYC Ghost Bike project, Miss Rockaway Armada, member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and owner of Wood Thrush Farm. 

For this portfolio, Kevin designed a poster reflecting on mutual aid.

Mutual Aid is a foundational component for strengthening new social dynamics that allow us to reduce our dependence on insitutitions unaccountable to us. The practices in this design are core to Interference Archive, its creation and continued engagement in community and social movements, and are represented in the background by relevant struggles; the Food Not Bombs hand, SNCC logo, a Rini Templeton and Mobile Print Power graphic. 

Avram Finkelstein is an artist and writer, and a founding member of the Silence=Death and Gran Fury collectives. His work has shown at MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, David Zwirner, the Shed, the Museum of the City of New York, Kunsthal KAdE, and the Migros Museum, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney, the New Museum, the Metropolitan, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum. He is featured in the artist oral history project at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and his book for UC Press, After Silence: A History of AIDS Through its Images was nominated for an International Center Of Photography 2018 Infinity Award in Critical Writing and Research. He has written for BOMB, frieze, Art21, and Foam, been interviewed by The New York Times, frieze, Artforum, ARTnews, NPR, Slate, and Interview, and spoken about art, social practice, activism, LGBTQ cultural production, and the American Left at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and NYU.

For this portfolio, Avram has designed a poster focused on our core value of collective memory.

Untitled (memory), 2022

Historiography in America is tainted by social hegemony. Untitled (memory) is a layered depiction of American cultural memory: the red image is based on a video screen grab of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery; the blue image is an upside-down American flag, the U.S. Flag Code symbol for distress or danger; and the white text is taken from the poem Bashert by Irena Klepfisz about the Holocaust, and is deployed in this case as a refenece to the antisemitism, HIV/AIDS, the loss of life during the COVID 19 pandemic, and the loss of life to racist violence. The text is an extraction from two key lines in the poem— “these words are dedicated to those who died,” and “these words are  dedicated to those who survived.”

Josh MacPhee is a designer, artist, and archivist. He is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the author of An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels, and co-editor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He co-founded and helps run Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements.

For this portfolio, Josh has contributed a poster illustrating our core value of solidarity.

Josh writes: For over a decade I’ve been creating images with interlocking “worm-y” arms (and sometimes actual worms). These drawings show the interconnectedness of people (and things), as if normally we can only see up to our shoulders, but beyond that we all have a vast network of entanglements that sometimes tangle us up, but more often root us in families, neighborhoods, communities, and shared desires. These intersections are so vast its often difficult to even follow, or disentangle, the threads. This is one way to envision solidarity, a system of connections that make it hard to see where we end and someone else begins.

Keisuke Narita is a graphic designer who manages the infoshop, Irregular Rhythm Asylum (IRA), in Tokyo. He is a member of the woodblock print collective A3BC and the sewing circle Nu-Man, both based out of IRA. Also involved with CIRA-Japana, an anarchist archive.

For this portfolio, Kei has designed a poster focused on our core value of autonomy.

Kei designed this poster using logos and illustrations from anarchism-related magazines and journals in Japan, published between the 1910s to the 1970s. Most of the materials used are contained in the collections of the CIRA-Japan anarchist library. These magazines and journals, which originated from the obscure part of the cities, from factory towns, or from small farming villages, not only made the authorities and capitalists afraid, but also served to encourage and connect those who sought freedom. At the same time, the act of supporting, discussing, writing and publishing amongst comrades- in the face of harsh social conditions and sometimes violent repression- was in itself the practice of autonomy. Even with such a rich legacy left to us, we are not provided with an easy path to follow to reach a new world. Because autonomy is the path.

Andrea Narno is a Mexican queer printmaker living in New Orleans, Lousiana. Andrea believes in art as a tool of transformation, contributing to social change during these uncertain times. Andrea’s work centers around the symbolism of plants as a way to express thoughts, feelings and ideas, as well as a means to explore topics like migration, absence and grief. Text plays an important role in their body or work which is primarily linocuts alongside textile, silkscreen and risograph projects.  Andrea is a member of Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and half of Birds of Paradise, a collaborative project with printmaker V Adams.

For this portfolio, Andrea designed a poster focused on our core value of collaboration.

Paw paw (Asimina Triloba), is a tree endemic to North America and the only member of the tropical Annonaceae family to grow in these territories. This tree is the only host for Zebra Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Here is where they perch, grow and start a life from. A vital interdependence and collaborative relationship. Thinking about collaboration, I think about distributing the weight of tasks, ideas, struggles, rage and pain. How do two or more things, elements, plants, creatures, support each other to move forward? In a burning world where individualism is highly priced, we need each other, we are all we have and together we can do it! 

Meredith Stern (DIY) obtained a BFA in Ceramics at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has a multifaceted practice that includes printmaking, ‘zine publishing and ceramic work. Meredith is a feminist artist and curator. She is a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the MOMA, The Library Of Congress, and in Universities and Libraries around North America.  In 2012 she organized a project called “This is an Emergency!” which combines visual art, narrative, and gender justice. She is working on a project called “Craft in Time” which portrays creative people working in their studios.  In 2016 she created a booklet project on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For this portfolio, Meredith designed a poster focused on our core value of DIY (do-it-yourself).

This project was organized by Kevin Caplicki, Sophie Glidden-Lyon, and Jen Hoyer, with design help from Stray Cat Studios. Posters were printed at Shoestring Press in Brooklyn, NY.

This project at Interference Archive is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.