Boys Space

„Once upon a time, the whole world felt like a man's locker room: the corporate board room, the operating theatre in a hospital, the law firm, the professoriat. [...] Basically, the internet is the last locker room.”

Michael Kimmel

Pics: Judith Buss

 

In their cycle “New Men*s Movement" THE AGENCY looks at the connections between patriarchal masculinity and right-wing thinking in the post-digital age. How is extremist radicalisation promoted by filter bubbles and echo chambers? How do algorithms reinforce discrimination? To what extent are ideas from digital spaces such as 4chan or Breitbart News involved in the emergence and exercise of online and offline violence?

In BOYS SPACE, the second work within this cycle, THE AGENCY attempts to illuminate and undermine the role of masculinity in processes of radicalisation. An alternative space is created online and offline to facilitate an exit from patriarchal masculinity. “Boys will be boys” is no longer valid here. In BOYS SPACE, spectators as “Male Characters” meet their “Empathy Partners” and come across the confessions from other users. This gives them the opportunity to participate in the development of BOYS SPACE.

A production by THE AGENCY in co-production with Münchner Kammerspiele.

Funded by City of Munich Department of Arts and Culture and Kulturstiftung des Bundes

with 

Heinrich Horwitz, Nile Koetting, Nicolas Bourbaki 

 

Sound Design

Nile Koetting 

 

Technology

Nicolas Bourbaki

Dramaturgy

Rahel Spöhrer

Artistic Production Management

Sofie Luckhardt

with texts by THE AGENCY und quotes from Arlie Russel Hochschild, Michael Kimmel, Kathy Acker, Maggie Nelson, Leslie Jamison, Angela Nagle, John Cheney-Lippold 

 

with special thanks to Arlie Russel Hochschild and Michael Kimmel

 

with a glossary from the exhibition

"The Alt-Right-Komplex" of HMKV (Hartware MedienKunstVerein) Dortmund, curated by Inke Arns, with texts by Inke Arns, Jens Kabisch, Regina Weidmann

HMKV at Dortmunder U, 2019

www.hmkv.de

Part of the series MOVEMENTS

New Men*s Movement

 

“New Men*s Movement” is a cycle, which is dedicated to the connection between masculinity and far-right thinking in the post-digital age. The identity of the white, heterosexual male is said to be in a “crisis”: he is unsettled and angry at the increasing questioning of his privileges. At the same time, we are not only experiencing the strengthening of far-right ideas in Europe and the USA, but the spread of it which is mainly organized by men in online forums and analogously in movements and parties. If we assume with the US sociologist and masculinity researcher Michael Kimmel that "a certain understanding of masculinity creates certain political attitudes." (Kimmel, Angry White Men, 2013) - could new understandings of masculinity also create new political attitudes? From the analysis of these relationships, THE AGENCY created  the productions Man up, Gather up (2018), Boys Space (2019) and Take it like a Man (2019), which occupy the digital and the analog space in order to design a countermovement: A New Men*s Movement.

RESEARCH IN JAPAN

Our research in Japan in May/June 2018 and in Munich in September/October 2018, made possible by the scholarship Bloom up from the Rodeo Festival, has revolved around the phenomenon "Herbivore Men". The sociologist Maki Fukasawa used this term to describe heterosexual men in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who do not pursue a typical career, do not play the role of breadwinner and husband, and - very present in the Western media - perhaps even have less or no sex. Herbivore (= plant-eating) is associated with Buddhism and is associated with descriptions such as "peace-loving", "noble" and "reaching a higher spiritual level". Soon the term became an insult to a generation of men among Japanese politicians, who were blamed for the low birth rate and the economic decline of the Japanese state: These men did not fulfill their duties, they were not men, it was said. This phenomenon, which takes place very quietly, is our starting point: What happens when men move away from the roles attributed to them by neoliberalism and patriarchy? And what would happen if this phenomenon were to develop into a movement beyond Japan?

RESEARCH IN USA

The strongest contrast to the herbivore men of Japan are probably the American Angry White Men, with whom THE AGENCY dealt with in a research trip in March/April 2019 as part of the work grant from the City of Munich. The Angry White Men include various phenomena such as the so-called Incels (Involuntary Celibats), whose demand for a male right to sex also includes the legalization of rape, or the anti-feminist group “Men going their own way”, which are characterized by aiming to achieve their “sexodus” to liberate themselves from women and a world which they feel dominated by women. In interviews with Michael Kimmel (Angry White Men, 2013 or Healing from Hate, 2018) and Arlie Russel Hochschild (Strangers in their own Land, 2016) THE AGENCY investigated the complex of male entitlements, a supposed loss of privileges and outdated hero characters.

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