Through an investigation of queer spaces in Australia and abroad, my project will analyse the production of queer space as a form of collective autonomous design experimentation. By approaching the transdisciplinary concerns of queer space through architectural analysis, the projects ask whether there be material, spatial, and ecological design consideration linking to relevant discussions surrounding non-modern and post-colonial design theory. This thesis will be presented as a series of projects and a written thesis while examining a range of active queer sites. Case studies will include liminal queer spaces such as queer raves, cruising sites, queering of public places and digital queer spaces. The intention is to look more specifically where queer spaces demonstrate spatial awareness, a type of architectural production. Inversely, the project asks whether architecture and design can support the production of future queer spaces.
The theoretical contexts of this research are foregrounded in or via an examination of contemporary queer spatial theory combined with emergent discussion in postcolonial and non-modern architectural thought. The combining of Michel Foucault’s heterotopic/biopolitical studies with the work of environmental theorists such as Bruno Latour may highlight where environmental, queer and architectural theory intersect. While Halberstam’s hi/low theory will be crucial in discussing forms of creative queer production. Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology as with work by David Bell discuss queerness ability to disrupt and reorder spatial relations this also will be particularly pertinent to discussing queer spatial production. Recent theoretical research works adds complexity to the queer architectural theory works from the 1990s such as writing from Aaron Betsky, as well the 1994 exhibition by Beatriz Colomina et. al. Queer Space held at the Storefront For Architecture. I will look to reference to contemporary theory across the Social Sciences and Humanities and through thorough architectural investigation add to the work undertaken by Australian geographer Andrew Gordon Murray. Feminist theory contributed significantly to architectural discourse, as research (like others) aspires then to demonstrate that queerness can contribute to architectural and design discourse included and not limited to broader discussions surrounding ecological and social spatial justice.
The Australian based research will add to the growing yet still small field of queer spatial research still often dominated by US and British sources. The project will be a significant Australian study of the production of queer spaces with an architectural analytical focus.
From existing literature in the field an understanding of queer space theory the project aims to investigate the links between spatial constructs and queer space and focus on the ways in which the queer design reconfigures public/private and individual/communal norms.
The aim is to add to discourse within the queer community but to importantly answer pertinent questions to my spatial practice with a consistent theoretical approach.