PARK SLOPE — A public archive that documents social rebellions across the globe is bringing its 30,000 pamphlets, posters and photographs to the heart of Park Slope.
The Interference Archive, a volunteer run collection and center devoted to preserving social movements, is moving from Gowanus to 314 Seventh St. after supporters raised more than $36,000 to help the grassroots institution grow into its new space.
The archive's collection includes books, prints and music spanning more than half a century. Its core is in materials from the '60s such as the New Left, the Weather Underground, and the Black Power movements, but also features works from liberation movements in Africa, social struggles in Central and South America, student strikes in Canada and more recently the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Created out of the personal collection of two Gowanus residents who began gathering objects in the 1960s, a space for the archives was founded in 2011 at 131 8th Street for locals to peruse and study. But now that the group's landlord sold their old building to a dance company, the Interference Archive is using the opportunity to expand to a larger, more accessible site, explained a founding member of the archives.
"The intent was to be a home for materials that wouldn't necessarily be collected by museums on social movements," said Kevin Caplicki, formerly of Gowanus now based at a farm in upstate New York.
The intention, he said, is "preserving these radical histories for people who continue to struggle for social justice."
The archive was founded in Gowanus in 2011 as a community resource to promote dialogue on social movements. (Facebook/Interference Archive)
Almost entirely run on monthly donations — with the occasional grant for projects they put on — the group doesn't have much in the way of an acquisition budget. But Caplicki and the more than 50 volunteers often add objects from their travels.
The site also accepts donated materials, which can be mailed or dropped off at the collection.
Organizers aim to reopen the new space in November where anyone is welcome to rummage through the rows of materials, said Caplicki.
"We have a room full of treasures and they’re welcome to browse and engage, sit and read," he added.
Kevin Caplicki and Valerie Tevere installing a 2015 exhibit at the archive's former Gowanus location. (Facebook/Interference Archive)
The archive goes beyond documentation and urges dialogue.
It has launched 16 exhibits and dozens of talks such as on the history of anti-war posters, a look at a punk and anarchist inspired U.K. football club and a presentation by Egyptian designer and activist Ganzeera.
"It’s not just a space for activists or artists," said Flatbush resident Lena Greenberg, who began volunteering with Interference a year ago. “It has a diverse offering, which means that people who see through really different lenses come together and talk about the same stuff. It creates a rich dialogue that kind of feels like magic."