Beacon Project

Tunnel to the Turret

Tunnel to the Turret is a passive public installation occupying the third-floor space of 1558 Barrington Street. In producing a club-like atmosphere only accessed from street level outside, this project works to highlight a history of local queer sites, while equally questions the future of these spaces within the perpetual redevelopment of our collective cityscapes and urban centres.

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“You knew that the moment you stepped into the doors you were stepping into your world.
You could just be.
You could just be."
- Walter Borden on The Turret
In his seminal book “Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009)”, José Esteban Muñoz maps queer strategies for world-building as they pertain to the nature of utopia. For Muñoz, a queer future, and thus a queer utopia, is always on the horizon. As queerness evolves, much like a building, so do its ideals. As a result, utopia only exists through collective or individual attempts to achieve it, locate it, build it and access it. For the author, utopia is always “then and there” rather than “here and now.”
Architecture is an apt descriptor of a threshold. Built space defines both an inside and outside through its formal nature of enveloping space. A liminal space operates as the intersection of the exterior and interior, as both here and now while simultaneously then and there. It is a threshold which transcends the space between two opposing (rather than oppositional) spatiotemporal coordinates. To be liminal is to be both interdisciplinary and interspatial while also equidistant between present and past. Tunnel to the Turret highlights both a historical precedent and a contemporary moment by framing the need for safe queer spaces to congregate, share breath and bodies, in order to “just be” as Canadian actor Walter Borden states, in real space and real time. By reanimating the past use of 1588 Barrington Street, the site of the former queer nightclub The Turret (1977 1982), alongside the current cultural and economic landscape of downtown Halifax, Tunnel to the Turret tethers the here and now with the then and there of a possible queer futurity. This project works to breathes life into an inanimate threshold with the hope for a queer tomorrow, one that is aptly poised upon the horizon.

Illuminated Installation