Rami Farook and his influential Traffic space have earned a notorious reputation for testing the limits of what art spaces and galleries can be in the GCC. Located in Dubai, the gallery, project space, school and residence programme invites artists from the region and around the world to interact with local audiences. Created as a forum for social studies, research and development, Traffic intends to create, exhibit and exchange as well as represent an independent and critical voice in the region.
Dazed Digital: When did you start Traffic?
Rami Farook: I started Traffic in 2007 as a design gallery, shop and library.
DD: What is the most exciting development in the scene for you since those that time in the burgeoning MENESA art scene?
Rami Farook: The growing amount of young boys and girls (mainly in their early 20s) that are participating from across the region.
DD: Explain the evolution of Traffic from a design practise to a commercial gallery and now a not for profit initiative?
Rami Farook: In 2007/8 we did well as we focused on design (we set up a studio and were getting cool commissions for national pavilions, events, public installations...) then the crash happened. I was slowly converting my energies and time to art and by 2010 stopped design to focus on making my collection accessible to the public and representing some artist friends. We weren't making a profit for a while and by the time we started I felt that art was overpriced and market driven. Also my intentions were to focus on Curating and publishing so a major conflict of interest arose. So I decided to stop dealing and instead am attempting to fill in the school- studio-public space gap that exists here.
DD: What are your impressions for the new creative emergence in the region? How is Traffic involved to that shift?
Rami Farook: This movement needs guidance. I'm not sure if we're part of that as I believe we're misfits of sorts. But we try to bring people together, give them a chance. Especially writers, artists, musicians, film makers and designers although anyone with good ideas is welcome to participate.
DD: Can you explain your publications THE STATE and Monitor?
Rami Farook: THE STATE is a socio-historical and forum, Monitor is what I do.
DD: Christian Jankowski was just in Dubai for a creative collaboration, what was that like?
Rami Farook: It was a trip. A director, camera man and sound man with their eyes covered for 5 days and nights as we made a 47minute film with BBC World News documenting the making of this project. It was Dubai's ultimate intervention.
DD: What's in store for the rest of the year and 2013?
Rami Farook: Till year end I'm working on an 'automonograph' for Faycal Baghriche, a short film with Deniz Uster, setting up G Power Plants (a revolutionary energy generating system which uses only gravity!), working with the Kochi - Muziris Biennale, helping my Dad and setting up a blog inshalla! 2013, TBC.