Cabin Crew

Organizer: gta Exhibitions
Date: Wednesday, 30 March 2022 to Friday, 20 May 2022
Time: 10.00 to 18.00
Location: HIL Foyer

31 March – 20 May 2022
gta exhibitions, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg, HIL Foyer

Cabin Crew
An exhibition and program by Querformat

Opening & Speed Dating on 30 March, 6 pm
Lecture by Adam Nathaniel Furman on 6 April, 6.30 pm
Lecture by Jennifer Tyburczy on 13 April, 7 pm
Performance by Li Tavor on 27 April, 6.30 pm
Lecture by Torsten Lange on 4 May, 6.30 pm
Performance by Nils Amadeus Lange on 11 May, 6.30 pm
Lecture by Jack Halberstam on 18 May, 6.30 pm

In a recent skype conversation between Jaffer Kolb and Aaron Betsky, the latter—author of the seminal publication Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire—postulated the end of queer space as he himself had previously defined it (1). Cruising spaces—bars, saunas, parks, nightclubs—are being gradually replaced by the ephemeral network of virtual encounters. These spaces of otherness, which used to provide stages for an assembling of identities, are not necessary anymore, since, as Betsky suspects, queerness seems to have become palatable to a larger public.

This is not quite true. On dating apps such as Grindr, what virtual encounters have promoted is a “comfortable lifestyle consumption based on models of young, white, healthy-looking individuality and one-to-one intercourse”(2)—a highly normative counter queer space. Furthermore, cruising spaces are being marginalized by municipal authorities, are left out of the teaching curriculum, and noticeable by their absence in the architectural historical and theoretical canon. The discourse of cruising remains a discreet oral history within the queer community, and requires instruments which deal with its nature.

Cabin Crew is thus the beginning of a material archive of spaces and fragments that shape queer culture in the City of Zurich. It seeks to fabulate new histories for potential cruising sceneries and objects within the Hönggerberg Campus and beyond.

Also, the exhibited fragments seek to create friction within the campus itself and confront us with the disruptive potential of cruising. As José Esteban Muñoz declares, “Queerness is an ideality” (3). It is the act of always looking toward a newly reimagined future; the rejection of the present in favor of the potentiality or concrete possibility of another world. Cabin Crew is therefore by no means a complete archive, and neither is it a fully queer one. Instead it demands the engagement of all its audience so as to establish a parallel and alternative discourse within the campus. Queerness is not here yet, and because physical queer encounters in public space are being continuously attenuated, other ways of building resistance are needed.

This project is realized by Juan Barcia Mas, Paul Grieguszies, Shen He, Helia Jamshidi, Nikola Nikolov, Jonas Odermatt, Linda Sjøqvist on behalf of Querformat, together with Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen, and the team of gta exhibitions.

(1) Jaffer Kolb and Aaron Betsky, “The End of Queer Space?” Log 41 (2017), 85–88.
(2) Andrés Jaque, Superpowers of Scale (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2020).
(3) José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, 10th anniversary ed. (New York, NY: NYU Press, 2019),1.

Graphic Design: Janic Fotsch
Photos: Nelly Rodriguez