Laptop photographed in a grassy field. The screen reads: don't see me as i am, but see me how i long to be.

passively, possibly is a downloadable .zip file that publishes a series of user-submitted queer objects.

Set in the private space of a user’s desktop, the file generates a randomized collage of ephemera to create an intimate space for queer memory and reflection. The project investigates digital spaces as a site for queer communion and resistance, using design to explore alternative approaches to publishing through the web. I also discuss the project here.


Design Research
Interaction Design
Art Direction

Spring 2021

Objects of Memory for a Digital Space

Queerness finds its form through ephemera — it is the sticky residue of the stories we tell each other, and the moments we commit to memory. So, what is it that we keep, display, or hide; what are the objects or things that lie around in our memories and spaces that remind us of our queerness?

Setting out a public survey with that question, the objects collected were translated into digital space through imperfect 3D scanning. These objects offered an entry point into the stories of queer experiences from contributors.

Pop-up windows read: I bought matching necklaces for me and my first ever gay crush. I sent one to her and kept one for me because she lives on a different continent to her so I can't see her often, other than through social media. I wear it every day and I think she does too.
Pop-up windows read: For me, the queer experience has been one of finding my fellow people. With a lack of queer friends and people around me growing up and also being a person of colour, I've always felt disconnected with the wider conception of being queer. When I started to actually meet and befriend fellow queer people, I could notice myself changing. I was less guarded and more curious. I found belonging, I could relate and open up with them. I have a great and beautiful queer friend that started this, and I wouldn't be the person I am without her. Her first gift to me was a hand lotion from the store she worked at, and I initially thought it was such a cute gift and that it smelled wonderful. As we both grew older, the less time we could spend with each other, and every time I see it lying on my bookshelf, that gift reminds me of her and her openess and acceptance. The friendship she offered me is forever priceless and will remain precious in my memories.

The passively_possibly.html space. Clicking on an object reveals a series of connected texts.

Private desktop spaces and computer intimacies

Engaging with web vernacular and desktop interfaces as a medium, the project uses pop-ups and a sprawling, collage-like space to reorient our relationship with digital media. The format resists the linear browsing behaviour of vertical scrolling to encourage exploration, with no set path or order.

Using file names and folder nesting, the source files that make up the .html collage space reveal themselves as a nested queer narrative — drawing together quotes from the beloved queer utopian text “The Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions” by Larry Mitchell.

Two desktop windows open. Left: Finder window displays folder structure. Right: an about.txt file with ASCII imagery.

Folder structure and ABOUT.txt file from the project.

Video demo of the experience.

A browser window containing a text description of the project with a 3D scanned bouquet layered on top.

Screenshot of the project site.