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3D printed in white nylon plastic with a matte finish and slight grainy feel.
SI-01: "Interiority" by QSPACE
QSPACE presents a souvenir set to commemorate a queer women's space in New York City.
The souvenirs are half-scale resin casts of interior space in the Alice Austen House, located on The Narrows in Staten Island. The house is named for its most remarkable resident, Alice Austen (1866-1952), a noted photographer and lesbian icon who produced photographs of women intimately posed and occasionally in male drag. The souvenirs presented here reproduce three of the spaces in the house, known then as Clear Comfort, that Alice inhabited for decades with her partner of over 50 years, Gertrude Tate.
If women’s space is thought to be relegated to interiors, then queer women’s space is one step further hidden away, particularly in Alice and Gertrude’s lifetime. Interiority renders the intangible space the two women occupied in physical form, moving through public and intimate spaces of the house. Reversing the obsession with obtaining totems of great feats of engineering and political fortitude, these artifacts, expressions of negative space, express the intimate lives of the bold women who inhabited them.
Represented are Alice's dark room, built into a closet on the second floor; the corner cupboard in the dining room, where they would have eaten; two floors of area around the stacked chimney below the public formal parlor, where they would have entertained guests; and above, Gertrude's private bedroom which may have kept up the pretense of the women sleeping apart. Without a singular monument, this set of knick knacks is arranged on a tray in the fashion one might display the finest of perfumes. Following Alice’s lead of creating images of a queer woman’s life in a time when such things went unspoken, these souvenirs capture and celebrate the unseen.
QSPACE would like to thank LGBT Historic Sites Project and the Alice Austen House staff and volunteers.