Yasuaki and Alex
Frankfurt (M), Germany
"Your suits rock!"
How did they react?
"Haha, thank you... You should have been here yesterday! There was five of us!"
How did I feel?
Strolling through foreign cities I try to avoid tourist attractions. In Frankfurt I failed- fortunately! Otherwise I would not have passed a beautiful cathedral (pictures below), actress Margret and the Museum of Modern Art. Alex and Yasuaki were hanging out in front of the building, wearing white suits and smoking a cigarette. It was a great picture. They seemed at home in their costumes, like two carnival enthusiasts who have been badman and robin for hours and have forgotten all about their clothes, waiting in line at the supermarket on their way home. Feeling normal, looking exotic. As soon as I spotted them I knew I had to find out what they were doing so I approached them. Once I'd complimented them I asked:
"What are you doing?"
"Setting up the exhibition."
"Uh, understand! For some reason I was sure you were artists throwing color eggs against walls.."
"Well, as a matter of fact we are artists! This is what you do once you're done studying art."
I asked them for their websites. Alex doesn't have one but Yasuaki gave me his. He asked about my challenge and we chatted for a bit. His smile was disarming and his eyes warm. When I was about to say goodbye another friend of theirs came. She heard about my project and explained about a performance art piece from two years ago: The kulturtechnischer Dienst Frankfurt set up a table at a central public place. Six women sat down at it. They were dressed officially and didn't speak a word. Each of them had a sheet of paper, an envelope and a pen. They were looking at a chair. Anyone passing by was invited to take a seat. Once someone sat down they were asked to remain silent. The women looked at the person until they felt inspired to write down a compliment. When all six of them had written something on their sheets they put them in the envelopes, mixed them and gave them to the person.
What a great project! I said goodbye to Yasuaki, Alex and their friend and crossed the street to ring the bell at Kulturtechnischer Dienst. I caught one of the complimenters, Katharina Mantel, who told me the piece was a total success and that people beat the path to their door. "We definitely saw a lot..." she laughed.
I would've loved to share some compliment experiences but she had to run, so I walked on.
Here's what I saw that day: