The new Tate Modern building has been talked about a lot. Completing the original Boiler House, the Switch House has been designed by Herzog and de Meuron to show how art has become more “active” in the past century. It displays art that has been questioning the traditional relationship between artist, audience and artwork for the last 60 years and gets visitors truly involved in artworks through interactive creations. But beyond interaction between art and visitors, the Switch House also offers visitors, groups, visual arts professionals and staff two floors to learn and research about contemporary art.
Named Tate Exchange, this two-floor creative space is completed with a programme that starts on September 28th and last until May 2017, gathering visitors, international artists, over 50 partners who work within and beyond the arts, like Central St Martins, the Liverpool Biennale and reggae artist Janet Kay – who will teach visitors to crochet. Tate Exchange will be a creative lab allowing an ongoing conversation between experts of all kinds and curious people dropping by to help participants understand artistic practice and create their own digital works.
Shaped with the help of Tim Etchells, the theme of the first season of Tate Exchange is “exchange”, and anyone can drop in (for free!), bring something to the table and learn something new by interacting with artists like Simone Leigh and Christine Sun Kim.
The opening of Tate Exchange shows that Switch House is not only a place for innovative art, it also is a venue that changes the relationship between the museum and its visitors by making them real codesigners and cothinkers of what art and a museum can be: a one of a kind space with free workshops, presentations and performances that will be directly fueled by visitors. In October, the dance company Corali and the visual arts organisation Intoart will show a performance with a group of dance-performers with learning disabilities and artists from different backgrounds to explore how dance can fit with other art forms; Future Medina will be a four-day experience in which artists will feed on visitors’ thoughts and ideas to present a unique performance; visitors will also be able to be part of talks and lectures on various subjects, from the twenty-first dining table to the way artists use sound and film to communicate.
With an incredible range of subjects, disciplines and types of people engaged, Tate Exchange gives artists, organizations involved in arts, visitors, arts schools... a space to experiment without any boundaries.