Rubin Schuhe


participatory performance

Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany

May 28, 2015


as part of the Urban Caress curated by Verónica Peña during the Month of Performance Art-Berlin 2015.


© Copyright 2015 Kathryn Cellerini Moore

Rubin Schuhe, a participatory performance, was curated by Verónica Peña and hosted by the Month of Performance Art-Berlin on May 28, 2015. For Rubin Schuhe I asked friends and family to donate used shoes to be transformed by my own hands into ruby shoes inspired by the famous Ruby Slippers. I crafted the ruby shoes using only glue, glitter, and spray paint just as my Mom and I did over two decades ago for my own Dorothy costumes.

I arrived at the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany on May 28 dressed in blue and white gingham-adorned clothing and ruby shoes inspired by childhood Dorothy outfits. I unzipped a matching blue suitcase that I rolled for nearly one mile through the streets of Berlin. I kneeled on the concrete near the famous World Clock and slowly unwrapped each individual shoe. This was an important gesture because, for me, it communicated that these were precious items that had undertaken a journey (Ruby Slippers, after all, are magic shoes that journey from one location to the next). The shoes were arranged in a circular formation around the suitcase.

I picked up a pair of handmade ruby shoes and walked toward the first couple who looked interested in the display. I then proceeded to ask them if they would like to wear handmade ruby slippers alongside of me. Though the first couple said no, they were very interested in why such a “nice girl” would do something such as bring all of these shoes across the world and into a plaza for people to wear. As I shared my story I noticed that other people took off their shoes and put on the slippers. These participants walked around, took selfies with friends or took photos of the shoes. They spoke with each other (about what, I don’t know) and some of them spoke with me about the project. There were so many people over the course of the hour that I didn’t get a chance to interact with all who wore the shoes. Those who I did get the chance to speak with were open to wearing the shoes and interested in talking about the notion of “home” and the difference between home and where is born. Some people spoke with me about the Oz movie. Many had never seen it. One woman talked about moving from city to city and the impetus to do so. Other conversations were purely nonverbal/gestural as we couldn’t understand each other’s language. Regardless of this language barrier the shoes were a catalyst that facilitated all of these interactions.