“Culture does not make people, people make culture.” - Chimamanda Adiche
The exhibition seeks to confront the visitor, make apparent a daily choice of whether they identify as male or female yet making available the opportunity to consider neither. The aim is not to necessarily have people rethink their own identity, but to provoke discussion about whether the spaces they inhabit reflect their identity - and looking forward: how could architecture better do so?
Public space is largely considered to be extremely male in its design and atmosphere - how could we do this differently? The ‘home’, which is often used as the canvas of artists depicting gender ideas as it is one of the strongest reflections of society’s construct of the genders, is also completely different. How has this changed? Has architecture responded, do people identify with certain spaces? Does it respond to non-binary identities?
The exhibition aims to be experiential, with workshops & curated discussions with academics and practitioners. Some we would like to contact and get on board include:
Beatriz Colomina - architecture critic & writer
Juno Calypso - contemporary artist depicting gender roles
Barbora Maštrlová - contemporary artist, gender topics
James Soane - practitioner, author on gender issues Vanessa Arelle - youth, gender, & the digital world
Nigel Coates - architect & designer.
The exhibition was curated with both art and architecture related to gender, including both existing projects and theoretical propositions.
“PRIVILEGE is invisible to those who have it.” - words of Michael Kimmel quoting a black female friend of his in his TED talk on “Why gender equality is good for everyone - men included”.
The vision for the exhibition is to generate a more in-depth conversation in which we reflect and review architecture’s relationship with social constructs, starting with the awakening from a binary, ‘male’-dominated society.
The contemporary issue is that the notion of being either male or female is dated. Research by J.Walter Thompson Intelligence (March 2016) indicates that younger generations are by majority more likely to identify themselves as being gender fluid, and their sexual orientations far more varied than either gay or heterosexual. Binary gender became part of modern/western society with the Roman era where it was an integral aspect to forming social hierarchy; power was not evenly distributed amongst men and women.
In a 21st century where such thought is absurd, one can argue that to continue to use gender to order and consequently spatialize society is dated and wrong. Consider that the Yoruba culture in Nigeria had no concept of gender as a form of social identity prior to colonialism; their roles were defined by other relationships. Tinder announced last year that it had released 37 new gender identities. It is not that a variety of gender identities never existed, but rather that society forced people into choosing one or the other.
Architecture creates spaces that reflect cultural and societal behaviour, and subsequently has been reflective of gendered spaces. What is the future of an architecture that EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Introduction Provoke Provoke Comfort Engage Comfort Engage Reflect Reflect responds to these nuances in gender identity?
Client : VIPER Gallery
Timescale : October 2017- April 2018
Size : 65sqm Contract Value: NA
Location : Prague, Czech Republic