FINALIST: The Queer Pavilion at Vooruit
Bebe Books is a queer collective based in Ghent. The collective started as an independent publisher but became more active in community-based practices such as organizing queer events. We're occupying a veranda at Vooruit (Ghent) as a part of its residency program. We identify this platform as the smallest queer space in the world, where we display queer topics to the public.
The vulnerability of queer space has always made it the very first victim of every imaginable social crisis, such as gentrification, economic depression, totalitarianism, war, pandemic, and climate change. SF writer Ursula K. Le Guin stated, "If you want to go to people who know how to live in the world that has been destroyed, go to any indigenous American." Similarly, We insist queer space is an extrapolated example of a precarious space that every diversely marginalized space will converge into when there's a disaster. It is crucial for queer space to provide a safe zone for its inhibitors, and therefore has to pursue inclusivity in every possible way. Queer space has to stand against not only cis-hetero-normativism, but also sexism, racism, classism, ableism, nationalism, Euro-America-centrism, and anthropocentrism. Consequently, queer space embodies the attitude of an activist. Like the famous slogan "Stonewall was a riot", queer space has sustained itself as a continuous and desperate social movement.
From mid-September, we plan to construct an interior platform that we call the queer pavilion in this veranda. The pavilion will accommodate and exhibit our activity during the residency and work as an architectural manifestation of queerness. The construction will be impromptu and decentralized. We envisage the pavilion to represent the queer community of Ghent and Flanders, and our role will be to ensure opportunities for public participation. We're currently arranging collaboration with Studio for Immediate Spaces at Sandberg Institute, and more collaborators from diverse backgrounds will be involved afterward. The process will not be finalized until the end, and the space will always stay in flux. We refuse sterile, normative, and consumeristic representation of queerness. We anticipate our space to be temporal, obscure, and vernacular. This will involve repurposed materials, prints and zines, makeshift decisions, solidarity and intimacy. We seek values from the process of building and the narratives that will emerge from it.
As a disabled, immigrant woman both my professional & personal interests align in presenting challenges to working digital in the form of ableist narratives & ecological racism. By virtue of living with chronic diseases I regularly face barriers to working digitally as a differently abled & woman of colour. This is a fundamental issue that needed to be overcome yesterday & I hope we can together.