Is there such a thing as ‘queer space’, and can it be designed? During this evening event, the National Archive of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning was viewed through queer eyes. With archivist Alfred Marks, political scientist Mounir Samuel, filmmaker Tim Leyendekker, professor Jasmine Rault, architect Riëtte van der Werff and architect/researcher Dirk van den Heuvel. Moderated by Flora van Gaalen (Het Nieuwe Instituut).
Each speaker shone a different light on the subject. Where one contributor viewed men’s public toilets as a site for encounters and a fundamental component of the history of gay men’s liberation, another saw them as spaces that are hostile to women and the transgender community. The speakers agreed that, in any case, ‘queer space’ is space that is non-violent and excludes no one. But the question remained: how do you design a fluid architecture that creates space for mutable identities? That the National Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning could also benefit from different perspectives became clear when it was noted that less than 15 of the 200 archives are from women. Inspiration for a follow-up session!
Read the column by Mounir Samuel
Read the statement by Dirk van den Heuvel
Containing the collections of some of the most important architects and urban planners in the Netherlands, the State Archive for Architecture and Urban Planning provides an insight into the development of Dutch architecture and society over the past 130 years. Each of the four million drawings, sketches, models, professional and personal correspondence, photos, posters and news clippings has a story to tell. But many of these stories have remained untold because nobody has yet uncovered them. For the series of evenings entitled Archive Explorations we invite a range of people to undertake a journey of discovery in the archive in order to introduce new perspectives.
Thursday Night Dinner
Join us for a special dinner with the speakers at 18.30 hours, before the Thursday Night event. Prepared with fresh, organic products, dinner is served in Het Nieuwe Café and costs €17.50, including drinks. Make sure you reserve a seat at least a day in advance.
Alfred Marks knows the extensive collection of architectural drawings, photos, models and other archival items better than anyone else. He has worked in the archive for many years and from 2014 until 2016 has curated the series of exhibitions Surprising Finds from the Collection.
Jasmine Rault is an Assistant Professor in Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College at The New School in New York City, and a co-facilitator of FemTechNet. Rault works on themes of feminist and queer architecture and design, affective and cultural economies, arts and social movements. Her current projects include a monograph on Unsettling Affects: Queer Creative Activism in the Americas; a co-authored book, Checking In: Feminist Data, Affect and Labor in Networked Publics and Privates, and an associated digital humanities project, Feeling Speculative in Digital Space: Building a Feminist and Queer Digital Archive, both with T.L. Cowan.
Filmmaker and photographer Tim Leyendekker makes video art and projections in which he explores the conceptual and formal borders of cinema as a medium for storytelling. He among others made the short movies Opening Night (2009), The Healers (2010), and Blinder (2015). The Healers is a triptych on the gay party scene in Rotterdam of the mid 90’s: the tension of the night, the location, the date. Leyendekker dissects with great precision the social environment which is held up by illusions.
Dirk van den Heuvel
Architect/researcher Dirk van den Heuvel is Head of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre and teaches at the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft. From a personal and political view, he is interested in the possible forms of an inclusive, open society which offers space for diversity. The topic of ‘queer spaces’ is underexposed in architecture and offers a challenge to take another perspective on the history and the architecture discipline.
Riëtte van der Werff
Riëtte van der Werff is an architect and since 2005 operates her own studio De Werff Architectuur in The Hague. For OutForever and the Cooperative Association De Roze Hallen she designed a residential housing complex of fourteen apartments specifically for LHBT’ers of 55 years and older. The building plot at Amsterdam Bilderdijkgracht was acquired after winning a competition between self-build groups. Besides realizing the individual housing needs of the future residents, community, safety and neighborhood feel are significant focus points in the project, which will be ready in 2017.
Mounir Samuel, formerly known as Monique Samuel, is a political scientist, opinion maker, publicist and author of Egyptian-Dutch descent. Samuel publishes in various national newspapers as De Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, Trouw and NRC Next. He also works as a fly-in correspondent Middle East and North Africa for De Groene Amsterdammer. For IFFR Samuel wrote the article 'Trans is the new gay’.
Containing the collections of some of the most important architects and urban planners in the Netherlands, the State Archive for Architecture and Urban Planning provides an insight into the development of Dutch architecture and society over the past 130 years. Each item in the collection of the four million drawings, sketches, models, professional and personal correspondence, photos, posters and news clippings has a story to tell. But many of these stories have remained untold because nobody has yet uncovered them. For the series of evenings entitled Archive Explorations we invite a range of people to undertake a journey of discovery in the archive in order to introduce new perspectives.