PRINT February 2011

Das Institut

DAS INSTITUT launching their Schröderline Collection, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 2011. Photo: Nguyen Quang Giang.


WHAT BROUGHT US TOGETHER was the idea of a performative aspect in art production. Our collaboration is based on a process of intuitive and transparent distribution of labor, in which we modify each other’s mode of working, creating constant territorial shifts and side effects. In 2007, we were invited to do an insert for Uovo magazine, and we thought, Why don’t we announce our collaboration as such? It didn’t really exist at that point, so we just faked it. And suddenly DAS INSTITUT was founded. DI then designed the title posters for the paintings of Kerstin Brätsch, which were based in turn on Adele Röder’s pictograph designs. It was about merging identities, or moving them. The third identity is the first and the second—all at the same time.

The name we chose was hypothetical, but it gave us so much freedom, creating a mental platform for exchange: Institute refers to the meeting of expertise on the one hand and a corporate language or business identity on the other, and we are constantly dealing with the hierarchies implied by this structure. DAS INSTITUT is staged as an agency and a provider of services; DI does not have gallery representation, in order to keep the option of operating in non-art-related fields.

For our current project, we are working on the 2010 annual report for Ringier publications. We decided to collaborate with one of the few fashion lifestyle magazines Ringier is publishing outside the European market, Thoi Trang Tre, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We are launching a new DI product in the magazine: the Schröderline Collection, digitally designed knitwear for which we have had branded jumpsuits tailor-made. We will model these in a photo shoot on-site. Another Schröderline product is the series of Parasite Patches: You can sew the snaps on your clothes and wear the parasite. Each one has four layers, and the viewer or customer can arrange or fold them in different ways—creating his or her own advertising pattern—or wear the entire patch loose, as an abstract piece of fabric. Like DAS INSTITUT, these can be pushpinned into whatever already exists.

DAS INSTITUT (Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder) is based in New York.