(Techniques Speaker Series)
October 30, 2020
Olivier Vallerand is a community activist, architect, historian, and assistant professor at The Design School, Arizona State University. His research focuses on self-identifications and their relation to the use and design of the built environment, on queer and feminist approaches to design education, and on alternative practices of architecture and design. In addition to the recently published book Unplanned Visitors: Queering the Ethics and Aesthetics of Domestic Space, his research has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education, Interiors: Design | Architecture | Culture, Inter art actuel, The Plan, Captures, and in the edited volumes Sexuality (Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art), Making Men, Making History: Canadian Masculinities across Time and Place, and Contentious Cities: Design and the Gendered Production of Space.
Feminist and queer architectural theorists and practitioners have challenged the omnipresent binary of public and private in architectural discourses. While some designers have sought to replace the hard limit with a gradient of public to private, others have attempted to completely do away with it. However, most designers have had to develop these projects in contexts that were themselves clearly separated from their greater environments, creating new borders and binaries, often framed through assumptions about class or ethnicity. This talk explores the relation of domestic spaces to the urban, regional, national and global scale. How have discourses on the creation and protection of supposedly queer neighborhoods and heritage been expanded to frame nationalist discourses of openness? How have emerging discourses of queer heritage – and their framing of fixed points in time that have few relations with ephemeral ways of using space more traditionally associated with the experience of queer people – enshrined social relations built on ethnicized, racialized, and gendered assumptions that create new physical and social borders?