Artist Name:

Lucas LaRochelle

Title of Work:

Queering The Map

Country: Canada
Year: 2017 ongoing

About This Work

To queer space is to point to the limits of current realities that do not adequately consider the safety and wellbeing of queer bodies, and in doing so, points to other possibilities. These spaces of possibility are often ephemeral, and are produced through the actions of queer bodies resisting or even simply existing in the face of dominant power structures that would rather we not exist. Despite their ephemeral nature, these actions of resistance do not simply disappear into the ether once they have been performed, but rather hold the possibility to act as catalysts for a reimagining of a queerer, more radically open world.

Queering The Map is a community generated digital counter-mapping project that aims to archive moments of queer existence and resistance in relation to physical space. From direct action activism to conversations expressing gender pronouns, from feelings of isolation to moments of rapturous love, Queering the Map functions as a living archive of queer feeling. By mapping out queer experience in all of its permutations, Queering the Map aims to extend the lingering of these queer potentialities in physical space, by archiving them in virtual space. In making ephemeral moments of queerness legible outside of the subjective, the project opens up a potentiality for new modes of intersubjective connection across spatial/temporal divides. At the time of writing, Queering The Map holds over 28,000 stories of queer joy, pain, and resistance from all over the world.

Lucas LaRochelle is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher examining queerness, technology, and architecture. Their practice spans graphic design, digital media, costume design and wearable technology – employing these mediums as a means of examining and manipulating the interactions between the (queer) body, technology and cyber/physical space. Jose Esteban Munoz locates queerness as an affect that is “always on the horizon.”[i] We can never ‘be’ queer in any fixed sense, but rather are always in the process of ‘becoming’ queer. Such a formulation positions queerness in a temporal future, but one that through the existence and resilience of queer people striving towards its construction, allows it to permeate (and sometimes fleetingly become) the present. LaRochelle’s practice is embedded in a desire to imagine, and take concrete steps towards, a queer utopian version of the world that is actively engaged with the histories of LGBTQ2S+ activism. While this utopia may never come, the destination is not the goal, but rather the productive force that acts as a point of orientation within an endlessly complex world.

Lucas LaRochelle is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher examining queerness, technology and architecture. Their project Queering The Map, received an Honorary Mention for the 2018 Prix Ars Electronica, and was longlisted for the Lumen Prize for Digital Art and the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards. They have given talks and workshops in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London and Lima, and their work has been exhibited in Montreal, Boston, Amsterdam, Utrecht, London and Linz. Their work and writing has been published in Échelles, Perfect Strangers, Revistas UNAM, Accent, and ROM.

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