Substitutes at Berlin-Weekly

Peer through the window of the narrow, unassuming storefront space at 160 Linienstrasse in Berlin this week — which, like Maurizio Cattelan’s once perpetually shuttered Wrong Gallery, allows for little more than such a glance — and you may feel perplexed at the seemingly disparate objects scattered about its plinths. Toasters, ash trays, broomsticks, plastic spiders: not your typical fare for a gallery like Berlin-Weekly, which normally invites one artist or designer per week to create an elaborate installation piece behind its locked doors for the enjoyment of passersby. During this year’s Berlin Design Week, however, owner and curator Stefanie Seidl decided to shift the proposition a bit, partnering with designer Fabian Baumann to ask 40 creatives for two personal objects exploring the theme of “Substitutes”; say, a rolled-up magazine when no fly-swatter is handy, or a spider in lieu of coffee (read on to figure out what we mean by that one). The results will be visible in the Berlin-Weekly space from June 1 to 28, but you can see a portion of its contents in the excerpt below, then follow this link to read more.

Ari Versluis — Tripod / Rope
“In the analog ISO400 days of punk, living late at night, somebody taught me a trick for photographing in low-light situations without a tripod. Attach a string to your camera, step on the string, pull the string straight, and SHOOT!”

Böttcher + Henssler — Styrofoam Peanuts / Popcorn
“It finally sold on eBay, but now how to pack it for transport? Popcorn: an alternative to industrially produced styrofoam peanuts. It’s 100% organic, and after using it as packaging you can eat it, feed it to your animals, or compost it.”

Lisa Kersch — Lighter / Toaster
“I am an occasional smoker, but sometimes I need to smoke a cigarette – urgently and immediately! When I’ve finally found a cigarette hidden in some drawer, I’m usually missing a lighter. But my toaster is reliable; he’s always standing in the same place, ready to offer me a light.”

Mark Braun — Stool / Beer Crate
“The beer crate used as a stool is a real mass substitute. It’s a symbol of  spontaneity, flexibility, and the joy of improvisation, and you even get three different seat heights in one.”

Tom Lynham — Fly Swatter / Magazine
“I’m enjoying a lovely soak in my Jacuzzi reading the OK Magazine Royal Wedding Edition when a pesky little fly buzzes into the bathroom, determined to kill me. OH NO! The fly swatter is downstairs in the kitchen. But then EUREKA! I roll up my Special Souvenir Issue and SWAT THE LITTLE FUCKER with Will & Kate’s lip-smacking snog. Kiss that, you little SHIT!”

Jerszy Seymour — Toliet Paper / Pliers
“In the immediacy of needing to find one object to replace another, but with no functional necessity, I pitched up the first two objects I had at hand. I propose both of them as a substitute to an idea.”

Matthias Hahn — Socket Adapter / Plastic Spoon
“Even after 7 years living in London, most of my electrical appliances still have two-pronged German plugs. Since I almost never have an adapter at hand, I started filling the third grounding hole of the UK sockets with the end of a plastic spoon handle, and now I can stick my German plugs in.”

Llot Llov — Tape Dispenser / Teeth
“Men have fangs.”

Stefanie Seidl — Coffee / Spider
“In the morning I need at least three cups of coffee in order to wake up and get moving. The sight of a spider would have the same effect.”

Helmut Palla — Finger / Tissue
“Always at hand…”

Uwe Melichar — Fan Belt / Nylon Stockings
“Messages posted in a Yahoo chat forum:
‘Does anyone have experience in substituting a torn fan belt with nylon tights?’ —Schlaumeier
‘Yes, it works. But please don’t forget that you can’t replace torn nylon tights with a fan belt.’ —Wissensdurst”

Werner Aisslinger — Egg Cup / Egg Carton
“When I recapped my daily routine I was thinking about one substitute which I actually use very often, particularly when many people are sitting around  my table: the egg cup made out of its own packaging. It’s not aesthetic, but it’s always available — a cut with the kitchen knife and the substitute is born.”

Anna Henckel Donnersmarck — Ashtray / Marmalade Lid
“Ugly provisional ashtrays as an attempt to speed up the process of quitting smoking – going on for 15 years now.”