Bezahl was du Verdienst

Bezahl was du Verdienst, originally uploaded by Mr. Tatiana.

‘Pay what you make’
a new political-economic strategy for the cultural producer.

I am a practical anthropologist; I initiate interactions as research into human exchange and the ways that society could function. In the past these projects have taken place as installations in the museum or short-term interventions in urban public space.
For my first long-term foray into running a physical space (a tiny storefront in a sleepy, mostly residential neighborhood in Berlin), I decided to try a more nuanced use and critique of the familiar retail structure. ‘Bezahl was Du verdienst’ is what the sign, as translated for the locals, read. My english explanation laid out the pricing structure for my wares: items were marked with the number of days required to complete them, patrons were asked to offer their equivalent earnings in exchange.
I am a weaver, offering handwoven cloth, garments, and objets d’art; the first question that people always ask about a piece is the duration of its production, so this system saved me from a minor pet peeve and offered a new perspective on the viewer’s own labor experience.
The project lasted from August 1st to December 5th, 2009. I broke even.


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