Queering
The Waiting
Room 


April 2021
[25:26 video essay]
12th International Conference for Artistic Research, Vienna 


Queering The Waiting Room aims to open up a critical dialogue around embodied experiences of disciplined spaces, with an emphasis on clinical environments, institutional processes and their repetitive rhythms. These spaces reflect the prevailing neoliberal condition, serving to reinforce the reductive dualism of a body as either healthy or sick, normal or pathological. This is especially true of the mental health institution; the loss of agency and time – for patients often detained involuntarily – are common side effects of rigid, controlling routines and stagnant institutional behaviours.

Drawing from queer theory, which questions norms and rejects thinking in binaries, Queering The Waiting Room reimagines the institution as malleable. Borrowing from Jean Oury’s notion of ‘pathoplasty’, which attributes sickness to the milieu, the project redirects the gaze away from individual patients and towards the social structure of the hospital itself. In doing so, it turns the act of pathologising upside down and constructs a methodology for critiquing current models – an approach which favours embodied criticality over inherited knowledge, and the collective over the individual. Through a multiplicity of references – from archival footage to contemporary interviews – the project’s visual assemblage reflects its layered methodology of collective unlearning, advocating for fluidity in the rhizomatic deconstruction of dualisms.