The Soft Layer


In response to an invitation from Dream City – the Tunis Biennial for Contemporary Art – I took residence in the historic building of Dar Bairam Turki and asked the residents of the Medina which visions they had for it. One thing almost everyone seemed to agree on: the future of the Medina and of Dar Bairam Turki is a restored version of itself. But which version of the past should we select to be the new future and how do we make that choice? If the only imaginable future is the past, then where are we now?

Together with Vladimir Miller I gathered these conflicting ideas around restoration in a process that added layers to this building instead of peeling them off. Together with the Tunisian artists Amira Chebli, Hichem Chebli and Fatma Ben Saïdane we performed this ephemeral Soft Layer in order to temporarily restore the collective histories, imaginations and visions that make up the nostalgic territory of architecture. Adding layers, stories, copies and visions to the courtyard of Dar Bairam Turki, we wondered how many versions of itself a building can hold before it bursts.


A project by Decoratelier Jozef Wouters in collaboration with Vladimir Miller

Artistic direction: Jozef Wouters
Artistic collaborator: Vladimir Miller
Made with & performed by (nightshift): Fatma Ben Saïdane, Amira Chebli, Hichem Chebli, Vladimir Miller, Jozef Wouters (dayshift) Ahmed Ayari, Kais Ben Rejeb, Valérie Bikok, Manoubi Cherif, Emna Hamdi, Laila Missaoui
Costumes: Lila John
Sound in collaboration with: Milan Warmoeskerken
Technical director: Menno Vandevelde
Technical assistants: Aziz Romdhani & Syrine Chekili
Production team: Aisha Zaied, Selma Ben Gaied & Insaf Mejri

Thanks to Jeroen Peeters

Production: Dream City Tunis, L’Art Rue, Damaged Goods
Coproduction: Arts Centre Vooruit

Pictures by Vladimir Miller, Pol Guillard, Dream City Tunis

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