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Looking Queer

The purpose of this dissertation is to study different perceptions of queer materiality and analyse what is contained in garments, accessories and other attributes. How are queer expressions visible in materiality? What part does material experience play in the perception of queer aesthetics?

In gathering informants with different backgrounds and ways of looking queer, the material of the thesis become pluralistic and consisting of a multitude of different voices. This shows the complexity in queer looks as well as the usage of queer materiality.

The collection of material is focused on interviews and participant observations with informants who dress and stage themselves according to queer rather than heteronormative logic. The definition of those who look queer has been made with the purpose of analyzing queer materiality and they have therefore been selected based on their aesthetics, and not as transgendered, bi-, or homosexuals.

The dissertation will focus on the tactile, physical and concrete garment: what one can touch, feel against one’s skin, and have an actual relation to. Garments that consist of cloth, seams, zippers and buttons; that are stained; develop lint; that are used.

Materiality as a term is broad and inclusive and I have purposely chosen it to be able to include not only choices of dress in the studied practice but also accessories, hairdos and to a certain extent the environment in which the informant finds himself. Materiality in this context is everything a person wears, from tattoos and other types of body modification to clothes, shoes, makeup, and hair products.