Through a study of two queer contemporary photographers working with landscape imagery, the author proposes a theory of anti-assimilationist landscape: a politicized rejection of the conventions of landscape imagery and the repressive systems of land ownership, gender, and nation-building it sustains. This essay follows two contemporary artists, Collier Schorr and David Benjamin Sherry, who have produced landscape images in sites with histories of gendered settler-colonial and white supremacist violence. The essay argues that their works function as both interpretation of those sites and a queer reclamation of them, enacting a political ecology of difference that can allow for a politics outside of the liberal humanist notion of nationhood and the fascist notion of "blood and soil." Arguing for its applicability to landscape theory and practice, the author contrasts this anti-assimilationist attitude to the prevailing twentieth-century concept of "eco-revelatory" design, proposing instead a queer aesthetics of obscuring and the potential of "becoming illegible" as a queer environmentalist practice.
This article was developed at the 2017 Dumbarton Oaks Graduate Workshop in Garden and Landscape Studies. It was presented it at “Senses and Spaces,” the 2018 Annual Graduate History Symposium at the University of Toronto.
see selected images from Blumen at 303 Gallery.