Listening as a practice of care
2022 - ongoing
Performance + Installation:
wooden structure, furniture, kinetic motor device, 66 ceramic cups, table cloths
Collegium Hungaricum Berlin
Dorotheenstraße 12, 10117 Berlin
I imagine that we have countless beams of light reaching out from our bodies like tentacles, and as we pass other people, more or less, our tentacles sense each other and emit light. The fleeting light extinguishes when we are separated. We live in a society where we unconsciously make countless connections every day, perhaps by passing each other or making eye contact, when our tentacles light up each other’s everyday lives. Under what circumstances does this connection become conscious and meaningful?
From the beginning of 2022, I started an experiment by inviting people to sit with me in a hustle market and share tea. To explore care in everyday life encounters, we practice listening together and tuning in to each other. After some months, this experiment happened in Collegium Hungaricum Berlin as a format of pavilion installation, including the documentation of the experience in the market, kinetic sound installations, and a continuous happening of the experiment.
Free Tea stand at Maybachufer Wochenmarkt, Berlin 2022 ©Ting Yin
The Place of Happening: Market
The market I chose is the “Wochenmarkt am Maybachufer. It is known for cheap vegetables, textiles, and a wide range of daily living products. It provides a perfect complication, where everything is so different that it becomes the same. It gives me an ideal environment to just “being”. I take it as a stage of my intervention of people’s everyday life. Care is an ability of humanity, but sometimes it can be forgotten when our days are routinized. How to give a little twist to people’s everyday life, to reveal the mystery that lies under their routine, is a wish of this project. To “make strange“ (Highmore, 2002: 16) by putting up a stand and sell nothing but even offering free things in a very commercial space. Giving an invitation to interbreak the routine and have a rest in the middle of crowds. This gesture is a strategy to open up the door of breaking routine, and invite people to step on the stage and be part of the inclusive project.
Exhibition view at CHB Berlin 2022
The Place of Happening: Gallery
The nature of this project is to have a presentation in a gallery. This project emerged in a public space to serve the public passing by. The idea of bring it into a gallery creates an interesting tension. Where is the line between everyday life and a gallery?
I built a pavilion in the open space of Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, to present the documentation of the process, but also continued to serve tea to a different crowd. It is not exactly the representation of the movement, but a happening in a different context. Through ongoing conversations in different places with encounters, I will collect the faces of contemporary beings step by step. Which essentially contradicts the linearity of time. When I speak in the future with someone about the encounter, I have met today, that makes this project a recursive loop, but never coming back to the same experience.
66 Ceramic Tea Cups
66 Tea Cups
I had 66 encounters who shared tea with me during the weekly market time. Everyone carries their history and culture and is presented in the in- between space. I hand-built 66 tea cups with clay to represent each encounter. They all have their own timbre and resonance.
Clay comes from the earth, usually in areas where streams and rivers once flowed. Over time, there were plants and animals’ living traces and the influence of the weathering. People started to make ceramic objects 25,000 years ago. Ceramic wares are widely found in different cultures on every continent. For 10,000 years, they have been objects that accompany people’s everyday life.
I like to imagine the piece of clay in my hands, which carries the history of nature. Through my hands and my experiences, I bring this history into the future. When it leaves my hands, it becomes an independent entity with its story and a unique voice. “Everything in the world has its own spirit which can be released by setting it into vibration.”
I set up a kinetic installation to let the cups directly voice for themselves. A teaspoon hung from above percusses several tea cups to release the sound. When it’s windy, it is an analog wind chime. The condition of the weather decided the situation of the sound environment. The organic status gives life to the objects. Or we can also say, “release the stories and spirits.”