Presented on the façade of IMMA’s main reception, What Does He Need? offers a range of viewpoints on the needs of men and boys in different scenarios and at different stages of life. The short texts are responses to the central question What Does He Need? and were gathered through workshops with adults and young people as part of an ongoing inquiry into the current state of masculinity.
The texts are accompanied by a 30-minute audio piece which tells the story of a fictional boy from the day of his birth to early adulthood. Throughout his young life, the boy is confronted by a series of situations, weaving between themes of empathy, power, the suppression of vulnerability, violence, mental health, pornography, and suicide. The public is invited to listen to the audio and to consider their own responses to the question ‘What Does He Need?’.
IMMA advises that the accompanying audio work deals with themes of violence and suicide.
Established in 2018, What Does He Need? is a long-term project by artist, writer and educator Fiona Whelan, theatre company Brokentalkers and Rialto Youth Project, developed in association with a Dublin city network network of organisations in the areas of arts and culture, youth work, community development and education. The project explores how men and boys are shaped by and influence the world they live in. Operating at the intersection of collaborative arts practice, performance, qualitative research and youth work, What Does He Need? aims to create significant public dialogue about the current state of masculinity.
In 2019 IMMA’s residency supported the project at its developmental stage, providing space to work with communities and groups. Since then there have been public manifestations which include an audio piece, a Dublin city public poster project and a programme for children and young people.
In 2021 IMMA’s A Radical Plot Open Call residency programme presented an opportunity to bring back Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers to the studios to continue expanding the reach and context of such an important project.
In a time when a spotlight is being shone on many patriarchal structures and male behaviours and attitudes, What Does He Need? is an urgent critical inquiry into the formation of masculinity, exploring how men and boys are shaped by and influence the world they live in.
Click here to listen to the associated audio.
To visit the project website click here.
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