Queer / Body / Architecture: An Exhibition Presented by QuBE

Transient and marginal, queer space dissolves mainstream binaries and counters alienation while providing a misfit haven. An enduring narrative of resistance has developed from queer identities, one with historical ties to socialism, feminism, prison abolition, environmentalism and anti-racism. Queer space describes a moment in which certain freedoms of gender identity and sexuality exist between norms and before tags of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual take hold and remap the space. 

Emerging from six months of conversation among members of Queers in the Built Environment (QuBE), this exhibit conceptualizes Queer Space as a moment of rupture from the normative through subverting forms, co-opting spaces, dissolving categorical assumptions, and exhibiting attitudes and behaviors that express new freedoms of identity. We begin to challenge the limits of history by positioning snapshots of queer activity against and within architectural paradigms. The promenade and its inherent objectification; the metaphorical fortress, or closet, which may be just as public as the promenade; and the superhomo, the exaggerated identity formation exemplified by mainstream gay popular culture, reveal multiple paradoxes in constructing space and identity. We examine the queer(ing) of space, the predicament of multiple and shifting identities that undermine both heteronormativity and homonormativity. In proposing a desiring historical narrative, we prompt a re-reading of recognizable spaces and typologies to expose incongruence, the ‘ghosts in the machine.’ 

QuBE aims to highlight and create dialogue around the intersection of queer identity and the built environment through a variety of media including speakers, conferences, partnerships, publications, and social events. QuBE also serves to support and increase the visibility of queer students, faculty, and staff in the School of Architecture + Planning and the MIT community at large.

Curated by JD Sassaman with Mariel Villeré

Graphics: Stephen Kennedy and Dominick Tribone

Video: Ang Hadwin, Kian Goh

Fabrication: Nicholas Polansky, Tyler Stevermer, Robert White

Thanks to: Alexis Wheeler, Danny Yadegar, Matthew Weinstein, Justice Mya Castaneda, Clay Anderson, Ofer Lerner, Claudia Bode, Jonathan Crisman, Sebastian Schmidt, Caroline Jones, Arindam Dutta, Sarah Hirschman, Nader Tehrani, and QuBE