In a locker room in Skjold Boldklub, artist Morten Poulsen facilitated a series of workshops with a group of five cis-men from different countries to talk about masculinity norms, friendship and listening. Through conversation, caress, song and humming, they shared experiences and desires to move away from a masculinity based on dominance, and instead cultivate a space of listening and being heard, of vulnerability and collective self-reflection.
Each of the six participants wore a personal microphone, which recorded the workshops from their individual perspectives. These recordings form the material for a six-channel sound installation in the same locker room, where each voice is presented in six corresponding loudspeakers, allowing the listener to choose their own points of listening.
A part of the exhibition was the distribution of stickers with the title of the project to both the participants and visitors.
The project is, among other things, inspired by feminist consciousness-raising groups and is partly a portrait of cis-men who work to actively deconstruct hegemonic masculine ideals (R.W. Connel). They criticise the narrow and rigid definitional frameworks of their gender, and seek opportunities to expand and dissolve masculinity norms. They practice awareness of the role that traditional gender norms play in unhealthy and harmful cultures, and thus also how they bear a responsibility for deconstructing how this Man is not good for anyone, not even themselves.
In a time where focus is often on making statements, positioning, “winning” debates, and on linear forms of argumentation, especially in online comment sections, the workshops and sound installation calls for a listening that is non- linear and fragmented, with space for silences, intimacies and sensuousness; a proposed emphasis on listening as a key element for dialogue, understanding and inspiration for social change. In other words, Morten Poulsen explores the potentials in social acoustics (B. LaBelle); acoustics which are not only about the physical conditions that shape sound reflections, but also about the social conditions that contribute to feelings of belonging, of being heard, and which affect how we express ourselves in complex conversations.