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The Invitation Effect


As fate would have it, I stumbled upon my first permanent atelier-apartment in Kreuzberg, and it was like the universe was saying, "Hey, it's time to throw some legendary dinner!"

I've got this swanky atelier-apartment with an unlimited lease, and I'm thinking,

"This place was made for more than just paintbrushes and canvases."

It was time to bring out the pots, pans, and culinary magic. And so, the hosting adventures began.

I was inviting friends, acquaintances, and even strangers I stumbled upon during my adventures. People I met on the street, at parties, and at work. There were moments when I questioned my sanity.

My appetite for connection was fueled by the freedom of having my own place.

I didn't have to ask for permission whether I wanted to organize a dinner or a party like you usually do if you live with other people or follow any time rules, and I could let those dirty dishes pile up until they reached Everest-like heights. The first dinners felt like sophisticated squats. Was even before I started to furnish my apartment. I didn't bother with tables and chairs; I was a rebel of comfort, lounging on the floor (here's a snapshot of our debut floor-dining experience).

Though my Asian food skills were not the best, for the nexts dinners I took advantage of the situation by using the cushioned seating on the floor as an excuse for a sushi-themed dinner.

Dinners that change people life

As the word spread, more people began to join these impromptu gatherings. The atmosphere was vibrant and diverse, with conversations flowing freely in different languages and a kaleidoscope of cultures coming together. These gatherings were not just about food and drink; they were about building connections and forging a sense of community. Over time, the dinners evolved into something more than just casual get-togethers. They became a platform for sharing ideas, discussing social issues, and initiating collective action. It was a space where ideas could collide, and new possibilities emerged. These dinners became a microcosm of the kind of inclusive and participatory society we aspired to create.

As I reflect on those early dinners, I realize that they were the catalyst for a much larger project. They inspired the birth of the art initiative Mayer Pavilion, aimed at addressing social issues, breaking down barriers, and empowering artists' voices and their role in society.

Looking back, I am grateful for those humble beginnings. They taught me the power of art, community, and shared experiences in shaping our context. They showed me that even the simplest act of gathering together can ignite a spark that fuels collective action and transforms lives. And most importantly, they reminded me that the power to effect change lies within each one of us, and it is through our connections and collaborations that we can truly create a more solidarity-filled and connected world.

The Invitation Effect

When I first started inviting people to my events, I have to admit, the response wasn't exactly mind-blowing. It was a bit disappointing, to be honest.

I remember those occasions when I poured my heart and soul into preparing a feast for a crowd, only to have a handful of people show up.

The discrepancy between the anticipated and actual attendance felt like a blow, momentarily dampening my spirits. As I looked around at the abundance of food and the labor of love that had consumed my day, I couldn't help but question whether it was all worth it.

Compounding the disappointment were the missed opportunities to attend other exciting events happening in town. While my friends were out exploring new experiences, I found myself tethered to the kitchen, meticulously preparing meals for the anticipated guests. There were times when I wondered if I had made the right choice and if the effort I was putting into these events was truly worth the sacrifices I was making. But I didn't let that get me down.

I was determined to bring people together, so I kept on sending out those invites like there was no tomorrow. Slowly but surely, things started to change. Whether they were super excited to come or politely declined. Those who initially brushed off my invitations soon realized what they were missing out on. They became die-hard fans, eagerly anticipating every event I put together.

It was incredible to see how their perspective shifted, and you could practically feel their satisfaction radiating from every interaction. This transformation not only proved that there was some kind of magic in an invitation, but it also opened my eyes to the power of communal experiences.

Just by extending a genuine invitation, I could bridge gaps and become the host of a sense of belonging.

Suddenly, these seemingly ordinary get-togethers turned into epic gatherings of human connection. As my invitation list expanded, so too did the web of interconnectedness that we collectively wove. In the quiet moments between laughter and conversation, I marveled at the transformative potential that lay within the folds of an invitation. It was an invitation that surpassed mere attendance; it was an invitation to embrace the beautifully complex tapestry of human experience.

The transformational power of invitations: Dinners that Heal

What struck me the most about invitations was how someone who initially seemed uninterested or unresponsive would often become the most enthusiastic member of our group after attending just one of my dinners. It was a fascinating revelation.

Take my friend, for example. I’ll call him Nate even though that isn’t his real name. Nate had been going through a tough time since the pandemic hit. Depression had crept in, and he turned to drinking and smoking excessively, and his weight started to increase. He felt isolated, unable to connect with others or find a partner. Financial constraints prevented him from visiting his family in another part of the world, even though he was working hard from home. To make matters worse, his father fell ill, adding to his sense of regret about moving to Berlin.

Every time I sent him an invitation, I hoped it would serve as a reminder that he wasn't alone. After months of extending invitations, Nate finally decided to join us for one of our dinners. That night, I witnessed an incredible transformation. It was as if a ray of sunshine pierced through the clouds, illuminating his face. His smile stretched wide, a sight I hadn't seen in a long time.

As he engaged in conversations, laughed, and shared stories, there was a noticeable shift in his demeanor. I could sense that this simple act of coming together and being part of a community brought him immense joy and relief. In fact, he was on the verge of tears, overwhelmed with gratitude. In the months that followed, Nate’s physical appearance changed dramatically. He became more toned, healthier, and happier. He confided in me that he had met someone special and that they had embarked on a meaningful relationship.

One day, he invited me to his home for dinner, and I knew it was his way of expressing his deep appreciation. He wanted me to understand that I had a role in positively sparking a change in his life.

The act of creating a community may seem simple, even mundane. But it can also be life-changing. We were not merely cooking and eating together; we were building connections that served as a source of support and healing. It's a testament to the power of human connection and the transformative potential that lies within the act of coming together.

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Very nice and insightful, indeed community is a paramount need for humans, hope we can cook some fish tacos one day in your flat ^^🌀

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I miss fish and tacos from Mexico ! Come and visit us in Berlin soon :)

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