Smash The Patriarchy at Tate Exchange
Here is a selection of photographs and films taken on the first day (12th April):
*Photographs 1-6 and films 1-2 were taken by Lea Evers on 12th April 2017.
*Photograph 7 was taken by Jason Pay on 12th April 2017.
Here is a selection of photographs and films taken on the second day (13th April):
*Interview and film was conducted by Alex Taylor on 13th April 2017.
*Photographs 8-13 and films 3 (interview) and 4 were taken by Alex Taylor on 13th April 2017.
Here is a selection of photographs and films taken on the third day (14th April):
*Photographs 14-18 and film 5 were taken by the author (Hollie Mackenzie) on 14th April 2017.
*Photographs 19-24 were taken by Jason Pay on 14th April 2017.
Here is a selection of photographs taken on the fourth day (15th April):
*Photographs 25-26 were taken by the author (Hollie Mackenzie) on 15th April 2017.
Here is a selection of photographs that were taken throughout the four-day long Fairground:
*Photographs 27-29 were taken by Anne Culverhouse Evans throughout the week at Tate (11-15th April 2017).
*Photographs 30-31 were taken by Jonjo Brady throughout the week at Tate (11-15th April 2017).
It was clear from the first day we were at Tate that the Fairground was a success, as we welcomed over 800 visitors. This amount only increased as the week progressed from over 900 on the 13th, to over 1,200 on both B/H Friday 14th and Saturday 15th April. In the space alone, we welcomed 4,271 visitors over the four days. This number set a new attendance record at Tate Exchange. The activities were mainly ‘drop-in’, from 12-6pm, with some scheduled performances lasting no longer than 20 minutes. However, some visitors would stay longer and engage with the space for over two hours. All stalls had steady attendance, Smash The Patriarchy and Coconut Complaints, in particular, had constant queues and repeat visits.
Participants that engaged ranged from the public of all ages and families. However, it was clear that young people gained the most fun from their interactions with both Smash the Patriarchy and Coconut Complaints, because they did not let the concepts of feminism or political complaints and tools put them off interacting with them.
Particular challenging participant experiences at Smash The Patriarchy throughout the four days were during encounters with three individual male adult participants and one female adult participant:
The four male adult participants (each approx. 40-70yrs) all had difficulty entering the exchange with myself on an equal and respectful level; during the exchanges three showed problems with listening and instead chose to ignore my instructions and advice about technique; and one displayed a distaste for one of the high striker messages (“Swing It Like A Girl”) and commented that he would “swing it at a girl” whilst gesturing the hammer towards my person. To conclude, I can interpret that these exchanges included confrontations with the fragile male ego.
The one female adult participant (approx. 60-70yrs) asked more from the exchange than I was prepared for; to which she then challenged me as the artist / facilitator and feminist; conveyed criticism at my method/exchange; and did not complete her participation in the activity. To conclude, I can interpret that this exchange included a confrontation with another feminist’s ideas of what feminism is or how a feminist strategy should be.
Particular joyful participant experiences at Smash The Patriarchy throughout the four days:
Two young male participants (approx. 7-10yrs) engaged in a competitive, but fun, exchange with each other. One saying that he wanted to get to “swing it like a girl”! Such that, his aim was for his hit to send the puck/chaser up to reach the “Swing It Like A Girl” section on the high striker. Without any judgement from the other young male participant, he instead agreed to this challenge to get to “swing it like a girl” and they both continued with determination. In that moment, I witnessed how these two young male participants were engaging with feminist ideas and learning that it is ok, and even fun, to not have to assert their masculinity.
Another young male participant (approx. 15yrs) also engaged in a fun competitive exchange with the sculpture and amongst his peers. He set himself the challenge by saying that he wanted to get to “Pop The Patriarchy”. After being unsuccessful the first few turns, he kept revisiting, determined to pop the patriarchy party balloon at the top of the high striker. Once his swing finally resulted in popping the balloon, he cheered and gloated to his male and female peers that he finally managed to “pop the patriarchy”. In that moment, I witnessed how this young male participant eagerly engaged with feminism and learned that it was fun to become a feminist.
Below is the signage used for Smash The Patriarchy at Tate:
"Become a feminist killjoy and pop the patriarchy balloons in Smash the Patriarchy, a feminist reconceptualisation of the classic Test Your Strength game.
Using the rubber sledgehammer, have a go and swing it like a girl!
Do not hit any of the wood area, aim only for the rubber target on the lever."
*Photograph 32 was taken by the author (Hollie Mackenzie) on 15th April.
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