ton in ton (2019)

performance and installation in collaboration with Abigail Stoner

Inspired by the phrase “Be Berlinternational” from an advertisement campaign led by the city of Berlin, this project explores the identities of Berlin’s inhabitants by collecting stories and analyzing repeated actions as forms of ritual. In Jan Koster’s definition of ritual acts, understood as “non-utilitarian acts that are conventional and constitutive of the identity of some group”, such actions have no purpose in and within themselves; rather, the direct result of carrying through ritual acts results in the reduction of the individual ego, leading to the creation of group identity as byproduct. Based upon this definition, we extracted forms of ritual acts from the stories that were shared with us, using this as material from which we could better understand what constituted aspects of Berlin identity. 

Through a performative installation at two flea markets in Berlin (Britz Süd and Mauerpark), we situated ourselves within the social space of the marketplace and borrowed its system of commodity exchange to collect stories from visitors to our booth, using stories as a form of currency. We began by making conversation with visitors to collect information regarding their lives in Berlin, focusing on repeated schedules as a topic of conversation. This information was then transformed from oral language into a set of ritual acts, and a recording in the form of a physical object was created. Visitors who shared their stories with us were offered a recording that we had made in exchange. 




  photos © Abigail Stoner, Underpaid Mantis