I worked with landscape architect Sami Sikinas a visual identity and website for “Queer Landscapes,” after she received a NYSCA grant to realize her vision. The project is an ongoing archive which applies the lens of queer theory to landscape architecture.
The word “queer” has been used and abused to the point of ad nauseam, and as Lee Edelman posits in the book “No Future.” Sami and I agreed on feeling as though the word has reached a logical (near) end-point—becoming so inclusive that it fails to signify with the exacting precision needed to form an argument. On the other hand, the word does still spark curiosity and can signal (even if vaguely) to an audience of “queer” people.
Both the words “queer” and “landscapes” are such expansive concepts, it felt necesary to empahsize the way each word is defined within the world of the project. To acheive this the identity uses the astrix mark at a monolithic scale which reads a bit like an austentacious take on iconic pop modernism. The exagguration of scale is also used in reverse—relagating the project title to the minute scale of a footnote. Flipping the hierarchy of these two elements felt “queer” in the sense that a conventional power dynamic is being inverted. The use of these elements also communicates that the terms used in the title are not to be taken at face value.
Landcape design often feels a bit utopic to me, and the editorial lens for the archive definitely has a flair for the eccentric. To honor this quality, a supernatural glow is used—creating depth within the picture plane and adding some friction against the otherwise tasteful (even if exaggurated) institutional design scheme. The glow conjurs a sense of speculative fiction, a quality that I imagine one must need to design environments which attempt to show “nature” at her best.