Quare and Co-Present Danger: Visualizing the interplay of carlessness and queerness in the American South through urban, mobile gaming

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Collage generated by a @deadquarewalking player

I will be presenting in New Orleans at the NPCA/ACA Conference next year (April 1-4,2014).  My presentation will explore how I’ve used street photography and game design as tools to engage carlessness and urban design that is hostile towards pedestrians.

Below is the abstract:

“The art of cruising” city streets to seek out queer/quare* companionship has been and continues to be risky even in pedestrian-friendly cities, but, in Orlando, cruising takes on a whole other dimension of danger. Transportation for America (2011 and 2014) has named the Orlando metropolitan region the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians.   Living without a car in Orlando can be deadly as well as a significant barrier for queer/quare sociability.

At the same time, geo-social, mobile phone applications using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and location aware services, such as Grindr, FourSquare and Instagram, are shifting the way queer/quare Orlandoans co- create social and sexual networks both online and offline. With or without a car, queer/quare inidivudals can still geo-socially cruise Orlando’s car-centric, street life with mobile devices.

@deadquarewalking is a documentary game and a performance art installation that co-presently (simultaneously in the physical and virtual worlds) documents a carless, queer/quare man’s journey on Halloween to get to and from one of Orlando’s most well-known gay clubs – the Parliament House Resort.  This game within a game seeks to queerly/quarely visualize Orlando’s hostile, urban landscape through phone photography and hashtag metadata while also blurring the lines between the artist and the curator, the player and the game designer.

*In Irish culture, “quare” can mean “very” or “extremely” or it can be a spelling of the rural or Southern pronunciation of the word “queer.” Quareness can also question white bias in queer studies (Johnson, 2001).

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