How the secret star of Berlin’s endowment donation scene gets rid of his old stuff

Whether with a note on the sidewalk, in boxes in the hallway, or as an online advertisement: “to give up” – digital and analog, this cultural technology is not just a piece of living communism, but is almost as much a Berlin feature as currywurst, exorbitant rent and rail alternative bus service. . What’s less well known: The gift-giving scene in the capital has a secret star, an uncrowned king.

The man with the stage name “Dá Ithí” actually just wanted to increase the chances of getting rid of his old things. Instead, the result was a social media phenomenon with thousands of fans that could only happen in Berlin.

I just don’t like throwing things away.

This is why

Whether it’s shoes, suitcases or moving boxes – unless Schöneberger no longer needs it, he offers it via the “Free your stuff Berlin” group on Facebook. There are approximately 200,000 Berliners active there, exchanging household items, clothes or other second-hand goods – for free, of course.

“I don’t like throwing things away,” says Dá Ithí. Often times someone can still put things to good use. It doesn’t hurt to present old things in an attractive way. This is especially true when there is a defect in an item, as is often the case with used goods – a broken zipper, for example, or an opening patched with duct tape. Then the offer becomes even more important in order to find a buyer as quickly as possible.

Bag to give away.
Bag to give away.
© Da Ethi

And that’s exactly Dá Ithí’s approach: creating so much interest in an image that interested parties literally snatch old trash out of his hands. With his elaborate photo presentations, the 40-year-old regularly raises product presentation standards to a new level.

In his living room, Dá Ithí paints himself with objects in sophisticated compositions. He takes pictures with his cell phone using the self-timer. An old shower curtain turns into a whimsical robe, a backpack becomes a futuristic disco costume, and crates become a larger-than-life cage character.

The recordings made Dá Ithí a celebrity on the set. The reactions range from gratitude to sheer excitement. His photos have garnered thousands of likes, and the comments are overflowing with love. The Picture Saved My Day can be read over and over again. People claim to be ardent fans of his ads, calling him a genius, a legend, praising his talent and thanking him for putting so much effort and creativity into the images.

“These reactions from people make me very happy,” says Dá Ithí. The reactions from the other group members meant a lot to him, especially in the moments when things weren’t going well for him personally. For example, during lockdown in June 2020, Dá Ithí posted a photo in which he dressed himself as Marie – with pink IKEA sundae molds as rays on his halo. Cheered the Facebook community. Below the photo, one user wrote: “I love my Berlin.” Dá Ithí has ​​published a total of eleven photographic-enhanced shows since 2018.

The ideas behind it became more complex over time. At the end of July, the artist published his latest work. He stands with his old vacuum cleaner in a miniskirt, tights and pink shirt, in the style of the famous Queen music video. “I’ve grown a mustache specifically for this photo,” says Dá Ithí. Users have expressed their thanks with over 2,200 likes and comments like: “I’m not interested in vacuuming, I just wanted to tell you that you look great.”

Ideas for the new pictures were conceived by Dá Ithí over the course of weeks, meticulously planned and refined to perfection. In real life, the 40-year-old does not work full time as an artist, but works in the IT industry. He lived in Berlin for seven years and grew up in a small Spanish village near Salamanca. The area was formed by engineering at the local university. “I’ve always been interested in art, but where I come from there was no idea you could do something like this as a career,” says the trainee electrical engineer.

I want to break free - a vacuum cleaner to give up.
I want to break free – a vacuum cleaner to give up.
© Da Ethi

Dá Ithí says creative talent runs in the family. All relatives have a special sense of humor, but especially his favorite aunt Isabel, Da Ethi affectionately calls her “Tia Issa”. The aunt passed away in 2020. He often remembers how Tia Issa stirred up everyday situations as well as big family celebrations with her own jokes, masquerades and banter. “I took this job of making people laugh very seriously,” says Dá Ithí. So the photo project is also a tribute to her.

Dá Ithí pursues no goal but pleasure for himself and others through his artistic campaign. Schöneberger asserts that he is not interested in fame nor making any profit from his images. Just like his aunt, he just wants to please others.

And maybe do something good for Berlin at the same time. “A lot of people complain that over the past few years the city has lost its uniqueness and has become more and more boring,” says Dá Ithí. However, everyone can do something to prevent this. Ultimately, the 40-year-old is convinced that people make the city. The Photo Project is his way of working to ensure that Berlin retains its incomparable creative personality.

The next picture in the series is already planned. The ad is scheduled to appear in the Free your stuff group in the next few days. What will be abandoned this time is still a secret. But one thing is already certain: Dá Ithí will make many people laugh again with his picture.

to the home page

Leave a Comment