Berger Manspace: A Deleuzian Reading

Australian Creative offers an interesting report on the new Berger paving paint campaign:

In a world where homes and inside spaces are seen to be the traditional domain of women, the campaign sets up the new men’s movement with an experiential pitstop outside the country’s busiest shopping centre in Chadstone.
The spot portrays over-the-top feminine interior rooms and groups of men for whom creating a patch of painted concrete in the backyard is a “manspace” to which they all aspire.

The write-up correctly notes the “considerable albeit stereotypical humour” of the advert which is “filled to the brim with items that apparently attract men –  short skirted promo girls, cold beer, deckchairs, girly and hunting magazines, tv sport and manapes from the barbecue”:

But more than this I think the ad is a lament for masculine existential isolation. While gliding through normatively feminine-coloured interiors, the ad speaks of the “war for personal space, it’s a war that many men are losing”. It then asks, “is there any place left that blokes can actually call there own?”

The answer, it seems, is the back yard patio. But while it is suggested this is “the ultimate space for men” it is clear that we are being presented with a vacuum of meaning outside of the home, a literally blank domain stripped of cultural references that Berger mistakenly wishes to populate with what it perceives to be authentic masculine signifiers: hunting mags, girls with big tits.

But there is a further, more transgressive reading of the back yard patio, residing as it does not fully in the feminine domestic sphere, nor the masculine public domain: In essence, the patio is a queer or liminal space. Further still, I believe the director has been reading his Deleuze. What else could the flat expanse of the patio be but Deleuze’s smooth space—the ultimate site of sexual becoming—that has “no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo”?

Who would have thought that the Berger paving paint ad campaign was not actually put together by a bunch of dumb-asses, rather a posse of continental philosophers?

2 thoughts on “Berger Manspace: A Deleuzian Reading

    1. You’re most welcome. But I can’t figure out what is more absurd: the advert or a Deleuzian reading of the advert (this is what I meant in the previous Tree of Life post: there is no sincerity any more, just multiple layers of ironic meaning).

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