CLOSING TIME (2019)
About: My final project for my FdA in Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts: an installation of a “queer space”, with a tapestry showing a simplified map of London, a “queer library” including zines I had made, a plant pot themed around “bold tenderness”, and photographs of queer friends and community. On the tapestry was projected small videos showing interviews with queer friends about where they find their queer space in London, and each video was minimised and positioned roughly in the place in London where it was shot. The video included shots of closed-down LGBT spaces in London.
Skills and processes: documentary interviews; film-making and editing (PremierPro); film photography; ceramics; zine making; embroidery.
A Map of the World that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at.
Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality. We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future. The future is queerness’s domain.
José Esteban Muñoz
Looking at the period from 2006 to 2017, we identified 162 LGBTQ+ venues in total. This reached a peak of 125 venues operating in 2006, and a low of 53 venues operating in 2017. There has therefore been a net loss of 58% of venues.
Ben Campkin and Laura Marshall
To come into one’s queerness can often feel like a homecoming. I was born in Balham; to come home to a city like London after a period of absence can feel like a constant heartbreak, as areas are increasingly gentrified, communities displaced, buildings repurposed, and the streets become ghostly with the memories they hold. When we can no longer rely on the city to provide us with the physical space to find our people, our place of belonging, and all it seems to offer in return is the anxiety of imminent loss, where can we find our home?
The closure of LGBT+ venues all over London has forced queerness into the private domain, the margins, the suburbs. The dance party ends at 3am, and we are reminded that our space is transient and temporary. We are forced instead to find our queer space in the memory and the imagination. Can the buildings of London ever contain our visions of Utopia?
If queerness is horizon, how do we continue to envision new worlds, new ways of creating family and space and home? How do we make ourselves feel seen and safe and present? How do we create space that is not contained by buildings and physical structures but is found in reading and dancing and sharing food, in caring for each other, in people, in ourselves? When queer space becomes transient, how do we carry our homes with us?
Ackroyd, P. (2017) Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the present day. London: Chatto & Windus.
Campkin, B. and Marshall, L. (2017) LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London: Night Venues, 2006–present. London: UCL Urban Laboratory. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/urban-lab/sites/urban-lab/files/LGBTQ_cultural_infrastructure_in_London_nightlife_venues_2006_to_the_present.pdf
Muñoz, J. (2009) Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press.
Oldfield, L. (2019) Savage Messiah. London: Verso.