QCS is a digital living archive open to everyone collecting visual and acoustic representations and documentations of queer memories, encounters and stories from common (un-)safe spaces in the cities of Tbilisi, Berlin and beyond – for a more inclusive co-creation of the urban.
By Christian Haid and Lukas Staudinger
The narratives, encounters and experiences unfolding around queer spaces and their everyday histories are oftentimes invisible and fleeting, yet quintessential for LGBTQIA+ communities. Queer space can potentially exist everywhere; oftentimes ephemeral and loaded with contradicting meanings. It is co-created by people sharing common needs, demands, joys, and traumas and it is appropriated and redefined through queer practices in physical urban space. The practice of queering space involves negotiating individual and collective rights, spatially organizing relationships, claiming ownership and access to resources, manufacturing safety, and celebrating one’s identities.
QUEERING COMMON SPACE is an online living archive collecting queer memories, encounters and stories from common space in the cities of Tbilisi and Berlin. Realized by POLIGONAL Office for Urban Communication for the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial 2020 in cooperation with Actors of Urban Change. Open for contributions from everyone and everywhere, the archive seeks to do justice to the beauty of representation and diversity of expression by telling stories of queering spaces through a range of artistic lenses.
The archiving of queer experiences and practices can add to a more continuous historiography of queerness in urban life – a prerequisite for a more inclusive discourse on urban planning and policy making.
In Archive Fever, Jaques Derrida writes, “what is no longer archived in the same way is no longer lived in the same way.” Since queer narratives tend to be underrepresented especially in the discourse on urban futures and how we as a society envision the city of tomorrow the project seeks to trigger trans-sectoral exchange between various disciplines and modes of queer representations that are important for crucial voices to be heard – linking performance art, film, music, literature, architecture and photography.
“This living archive seeks to do justice to the beauty of representation and diversity of expression by telling stories of queering spaces through a range of lenses… All narratives, encounters, experiences, modes of resistance, or performative actions count – small or big, mundane or extraordinary.”
The project is an open invitation to others to share their stories of queering a space and feeding the archive with their experiences – whether through video, text, audio recordings or images. Only through us as a community can the archive evolve into a beacon of queer visibility—a tangible collection that claims the rightful presence of queer narratives in common space.
Submit a story at queeringspace.xyz
Dr. Christian Haid and Lukas Staudinger are co-founders of POLIGONAL Office for Urban Communication Berlin.