Phil Collins Void Exhibition Images

Phil Collins

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This Unfortunate Thing Between Us

Curated by Jonathan Cummins


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.

In the installation at Void, the two galleries have been 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 (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.