depatriarchise design *!Lab!*: Queer Nature – The Coming-Out of the Plant Kingdom
by depatriarchise design

with Céline Baumann
26 Sep 2020, 10–17 h, at The Garage (Klingelbergstrasse 11, Basel) and online

Photos: Alena Selina Halmes

A big sheet of paper is spread across the table, everyone is busy, walking around, talking to each other, drawing and writing, eating snacks, drinking coffee and tea, and connecting with online participants from all around the world.

The depatriarchise design *!Lab!* Queer Nature with Céline Baumann took place on a rather cold and rainy Saturday. We gathered to collaboratively explore the little-known, often-overlooked and rare intimate behavior of the botanical world, and to investigate the relationships between ecological thought and queer theory. For the introduction round right in the beginning, some participants brought an object or a picture that relates to the topic or represents their interest in the topic. Half of the group joined Céline on location in Basel while the other half participated online; communication was made possible with the help of laptops, a tablet, speakers and a projector.

Céline presented the topic and we had a discussion with the help of Leslie Kanes Weisman’s paper “Women’s Environmental Rights: A Manifesto” and “Playing string figures with the companion species” by Donna Haraway. The two readings had been distributed a few days in advance. The discussion on the topics of nature, architecture and space from a queer-feminist perspective was followed by a walk. Those in Basel went to the botanical garden, everyone else explored their respective neighborhood from a queer-feminist perspective.

The walk was followed by lunch. The workshop continued with a writing and drawing session in which we tried to capture stories from our walk(s), follow up on trains of thoughts and connect our personal impressions with queer-feminist views on nature that we discussed in the morning. This storytelling is done on a big piece of paper that became “shared territory”. Finally, we shared and recorded our stories.

Story-telling exercise:

Each participant picks up 6 elements from others’ impressions, imagine a space and describe it in a short story. Goal is to stretch the possibilities of reality and allow the creation of alternative spaces within realities that are (hopefully) more inclusive and intersectional for humans and non-humans alike. 


  • Haraway, D. (2016), “Playing String Figures with the Companion Species”, in: Staying with the Trouble. Duke University Press, pp. 9–29.
  • Weismann, L. K. (1981), “Women’s Environmental Rights: A Manifesto”, Heresies 11. Making Room, Women and Architecture, vol.3., pp. 9–29.

Leave a Reply