This Unfortunate Thing Between Us, by artist Phil Collins at Void, sees the two galleries turned into domestic interiors complete with wall-to-wall carpeting and home furnishings. So kick back with a cuppa, snuggle up with pals old and new, to the only functioning channel: TUTBU TV – more experience isn’t possible!
This Unfortunate Thing Between Us (TUTBU TV) was conceived as an alternative home shopping channel selling real life experiences in place of the standard fare of cheap jewellery, lawnmowers, and fitness equipment. First performed in Berlin over two consecutive nights at the Hebbel-am-Ufer theatre, TUTBU TV was simultaneously broadcast live on German digital television, temporarily transforming ZDFkultur into a shopping channel – TUTBU TV.
On the first night a cast of actors demonstrated a selection of three experiences that could be bought by the public at the promotional price of €9.99 each — with a special discount for the unemployed, pensioners, and students. Based on imaginary German fantasies, the offers included the chance to be the victim of a Stasi-style interrogation, a role in a period-drama porn scene, or the opportunity to stage your own death in a hospital bed surrounded by family and friends. The evening closely followed the structure of teleshopping, with pitches, presentations and live phone-ins; telephone operators managing the calls; and a soundtrack by the in-house band featuring Gruff Rhys and Y Niwl.
On the second night, the experiences were brought to life, this time with three lucky callers who had been selected by Collins to appear on stage in the leading roles. Exploring the as yet untapped potential of teleshopping, TUTBU TV offered a tantalising glimpse into what could prove to be the future of consumer television.
This Unfortunate Thing Between Us (2011)
Performance in two parts broadcast live on German public television.
15 & 16 September, 2011, Hebbel-am-Ufer, Berlin/ZDFkultur.
With: Niels Bormann, Julia Hummer, Christian Kärgel, Matthias Matschke, Judy Minx, Pau Pappel, Trystan Pütter, Susanne Sachsse, Marcel Schlutt, Sharon Smith, and members of the public. Music: Gruff Rhys & Y Niwl.
Phil Collins Biography
Born in 1970, Collins grew up in the North of England. He studied at the University of Manchester, from which he graduated in 1994 (BA English Literature and BA Drama), and University of Ulster in Belfast, from which he graduated in 1999 (MA Fine Art). During this time he worked different jobs, including a cloakroom boy and pint-puller at the Hacienda nightclub, a bingo caller, a lecturer in performance and film theory, a high-street photo lab assistant, and a secretary at the Big Issue magazine for the homeless. Throughout the second half of the 1990s he was a member of London-based performance group Max Factory whose live art projects reached all corners of the UK and beyond.
Collins received a Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts in 2001, and was nominated for Artes Mundi Prize in 2012 and Turner Prize in 2006. He has completed a number of international residencies, including DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm in Berlin, Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem, and PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. marxism today (prologue), Collins’ 2010 film, was awarded 3sat-Förderpreis at the 57th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. His recent project This Unfortunate Thing Between Us from 2011 was broadcast live on German national television.
Solo exhibitions of Collins’ work have been presented in venues around the world, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2016); Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA (2016); Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2015); Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2014); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2013); British Film Institute, London (2011); Tramway, Glasgow (2009); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2008); Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (all 2007); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Franisco and Tate Britain, London (both 2006); and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2005).
Collins’ work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions at institutions such as Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; New Museum, New York; Beirut Art Center, Bayrut; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Hayward Gallery, London; and Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna.
Collins currently lives in Berlin and Cologne, where he is Professor of Video Art at the Academy of Media Arts.
See more of Phil’s work here.
Void Gallery is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council.