Open Source Stories

Art of Exchange


"If a museum is not open as an organization,
it risks being seen as just a repository of objects."

Fiona Kingsman, Head of Tate Exchange

Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern opens up a civic space for artists and community members to share ideas in bold ways. By creating a space for exchange—through dance, tech workshops, debates, films—the museum is fostering opportunities to collaborate, test ideas, and discover new perspectives on life. For artist Tim Etchells' "Three Tables" performance, people of different backgrounds—strangers—are encouraged to meet, talk, and exchange perspectives. Through Tate Exchange, the Tate Modern is breaking down expectations of what a 21st-century museum is, and shaping new possibilities for what it can be.

From the film

Watch her story

"You step into the unknown and it takes the form of an ordinary wooden table."

-Barbara Robson

For Barbara Robson, the "Three Tables" performance at Tate Exchange is more than just an art exhibit. It's a space for exploring what—for her—has been lost: meaningful human interaction.

At 86-years-old, Barbara is no stranger to Tate Modern (which is located directly next to her flat) or its variety of unique exhibits. But when she wandered into the space for Tate Exchange on the first day of Three Tables, she didn't know what to make of it.

"I'd have great difficulty describing it," Barbara says, "because at a cognitive level, I don't understand it at all."

Still, that did not dissuade her from participating in the performance. She looked at the three tables set up, and approached the one with a sign next to it advertising: "Table for the exchange of stories about ephemeral things."

Barbara approached the table and its three participants, and announced, as she sat down, "Here I am: the ephemeral, personified."

And that began her first of experience participating in the "Three Tables" performance.

Watch their story

"All of the resources we use are open source. It's not about how much money you have. We're quite proud's open to anyone."

-Grace and Femi Owolade-Coombes

Femi Owolade-Coombes is a renowned hacker who was recently given an award by Prince William and Harry.

He's also only 11 years old.

With his mother Grace, he's a part of the Digital Maker Collective, which was one of 53 groups invited to participate in Tate Exchange.

Like the featured "Three Tables" performance, these 53 Associates are exploring the meaning of this term "exchange" as it relates to art and society.

For Femi and Grace, exchange is rooted in teaching others how to do what they do: hack.

Using Raspberry Pis, Femi has led several workshops at Tate Exchange teaching local kids how to program and build their own robots.

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