Desire lines

With Queer theory secured (as far as architecture is concerned) firmly in the domain of the social sphere, my initial research into queer spatiality predictably started in the clubs and bars; a proving ground to unpack the practices of queer place-making. As fun and fruitful this endeavour (excuse my use of analogy), a giant elephant (I should say iceberg) remained; my research felt somewhat like the study of partying on a sinking Titanic in the face of the obvious existential threat of catastrophic climate change (many many icebergs). Although this project remains unfinished, sound foundations remain, and like so many of my peers, I shifted my focus towards an ecological concern.

Queer ecology was first coined by Catriona Sandilands in the 1994 journal Undercurrents edition titled Queer Nature the intent to queer the “politics of nature [to] no longer be an articulation of [the] white, male, heterosexual …” and subvert a heteronormative narrative of the queer as being “unnatural”.   Since then, queer ecology has allowed for essential connections between the material, cultural and environmental.  Yet despite the term’s widespread usage across many fields,  there remains little in the combination of queer ecological and architectural discourse.

Given Architecture’s involvement in vast amounts of material dislocation and associated ecological destruction, perhaps the inclusion of the queer and ecological can contribute alternate perspectives. For so long, excluding minority groups and Indigenous peoples from architectural conversations rejected significant contributions to design discourse.  Earlier liberation movements were allied with environmental ones. Intentional communities, protests, fashion and festivals, the aesthetic production of an era that often brought into proximity concerns for queer bodies and the environment.