Adam Phillips & Paul Becker: The Mean of Men (2016)



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The Mean of Men is a collection of 64 short scenes/stories written half by Paul Becker and half by Adam Phillips. Amassed over an email exchange between 2012-2016 – each text was written in response to an arbitrary, single-word, title suggested by the other writer. Rather than an assertion of masculinity, the title of this collection comes from an idea of male averageness or normativity: an interestingly redundant notion. Something of what that redundancy could imply kept cropping up in parts of the writing, that and the reality of being male and located somewhere towards the middle of life. A glossary in the back of the book denotes the definition of each title, inviting as well as obfuscating interpretation of each text’s meaning or intent. The Mean of Men was design with Sam Watson (OPEN-AIR).

Adam Phillips is an artist, curator and teacher based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the co-founder of curatorial organisation CIRCA Projects and risograph printing press Foundation Press.

Paul Becker’s work extends across painting, literature, film and performance. Collaboration is an increasingly important part of his work and recent films, readings and performances have been made with the artists Francesco Pedraglio, Johannes Maier, Tess Denman-Cleaver and Giles Bailey and curatorial organisations like CIRCA Projects in Newcastle and FormContent and Auto Italia in London. He lives and works in Gateshead.