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“Queer' not as being about who you're having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but 'queer' as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and that has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.” - Bell Hooks

I have had my voice stolen due to being queer, neurodivergent, and traumatized. 


On a societal level, this has meant constant fights against my human rights of getting mental and physical healthcare, the inability of being seen as my gender identity, and the constant battle for creating a space that I can feel able to live in.


On a personal level, this has meant a million million scars, over 20 suicide attempts, and what I now know to be a borderline personality disorder.

I have died a million deaths, small and large, and through these deaths, I have learned how to survive the water in my lungs on my own, unable to rely on anyone else for the longest time.

Society has robbed me of my identity by standing idle, through years of waiting lists from liberal policies, through the unacceptance of mental struggling, and through the vitriol and hatred spewed by the right wing towards queer and neurodivergent people like me.

For the longest time, I have despised and utterly hated myself, believing society was right in calling me an outcast, believing I deserved to drown.

And yet, I lived. I got the help I needed, after 3 years of suffering waiting. Even then, I refused to believe there was an option other than drowning in every crisis. Like a traumatized dog, barking and biting every person that tries to offer a helping hand, licking my own wounds raw. But even a hurt Wolf can learn new tricks.

I HAVE DROWNED A MILLION MILLION TIMES.

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BUT IN MY DROWNING,
I HAVE LEARNED TO LOVE
THE ROARING OCEAN
.

One tiny step at a time, I learned a new, better way. I rose above my bloodriver, stopped selfharm and my drug abuse, and started to ever so slowly get a grip on my emotional rollercoaster.

I started making art, to vent and process, and through this I have found my voice again that was taken from me for so long.

I am Wolf: a hurt pup that has learned to adapt to their surroundings,  raw and scarred. I am made of hardened steel, and nothing will ever dare to kill me again.

I am Strega: a kind-hearted and loving person that aims to restore what has been taken from me all this time. I love with all my heart, and through compassion for myself and others, I aim to live again.

Both are me, and one cannot be there without the other. 

I have learned to love my Wolf, for without him, I’d never have survived. But he isn’t all there is anymore.

I am not a finished person, nor will I ever be. But I do know now which paths to take now that lead me out of the ocean, or at least into a calmer part of it, watching the waves roar by me, over me and through me. I have found my flame, and I intend to keep it burning for the rest of my life.
 

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FOR I AM THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
BURNING MY FLAME EVER SO BRIGHT.

This flame of mine is one that I hope to broadcast out to everyone. My survival is a testiment that us queer folk cannot be smoked out, and I intend for my art and design to be a lighthouse to everyone who needs a path out of their own drowning.

My voice has been stolen, but I have reclaimed with claw and fang.

Through strong personal aesthetics, I aim to use my emotions as part of my design, for design and art are intensely personal experiences that everyone can and should make their own.

I have learned to cope healthier, and to stand steady in my lighthouse watching over the sea, through which I can broadcast myself and the stories I want to tell. For I have a voice now, and I aim to speak it loud and clear through my designs.

I do this through my visual language, writing and game design currently. I have made an Indie Groundbreakers nominated tabletop roleplaying game, Lichoma. It is a dark satirization of how the world perceives me and vice versa. It is heavily inspired by Marxist, post-humanist, and Dadaist philosophy,  and by the fucked up shit going on in the real world.

I also have done several university design projects that have had a strong focus on story telling, mainly the Data Café, an exercise in designing for debate. A café where you buy your drinks through “selling” information: a set of uncomfortable questions asking about your sex life, mental health and personality, a dark look on how our data gets used as currency in the digital age.

I also have made Droom, an exercise in putting the ritual of sleeping and dreaming into physicality. Through three connected artifacts, we put a positive spin on sleep struggles.

Through the making of stories, I aim to allow others to tell theirs, because the world is better when everyone can speak.

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A COMFORTABLE PRISON

Our world is plagued by alienation. We are forced into a system that takes away our ability to control our own life, and instead forces us to either become a cog in the machine or to starve and die. In the same sense, people are alienated from design: people have begun to see design as a thing that can solely be done by companies and super smart designer people, instead of seeing it for what it is: a part of our human expression.

To free ourselves from this is a two-part job: we must kill the cops of the system, and we must kill the ones in our mind.

To kill the mindcops, I take inspiration the Theatre of the Oppressed and Bertolt Brecht. I use heavy personal aesthetics to self-reflect and to teach class dynamics through the Verfremdungseffekt.  By creating designs that are deeply personal that show who the designer is and what their views are, spectators can begin to question why our world is designed the way it is, and how they would improve it, turning into spect-actors.

I take no stance in what mindcops people will personally find; this will be different for everyone. This could be an internal myth, a trauma barrier, a societal convention, a political ideology, or anything else.

I design to provoke an emotional response in the audience. My designs often show a vision of a world that must not be. Through having my designs be living stories and not static entities, people hopefully get kindled by a desire to change the stories into something more positive, and through that, realize exactly which mindcops are holding the story back from being a good one.

I also take a lot of inspiration from performance art and Dada. Both of these art forms use conventionally ugly materials and expressions to tell a stronger story. By rejecting the myth that art and design need to be pretty, we can tell a much stronger tale.

Design should ultimately be a universal language for everyone to tell their own stories. We need to provide the means of designing to everyone, because through creating together for our own communities, we can improve our world without needing to rely on the Designer Gods to notice our plea and fix the world for us. Design is not an elitist profession, it is a tool of the people.

My unique role as designer is therefore one of a translator: I take the stories of humans and non-humans alike and provide them with a means to speak.
 

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A KIND KING IS AN OPPRESSOR NONETHELESS.

On the level of societal cops, I do have a strong feeling of what is good for the world. 

I believe that the only way to live is by taking your life in your own hands, and to free yourself from the oppressors of the world.

We have many: capitalism forcing us to work to survive, fascism wanting us dead and invisible, liberal policies wanting to make the most money out of everyone, conservatism forcing us to stay oppressed.

However, I’m just one person in a giant anthill of people, and I alone cannot make the changes needed for the world to work again. What I can do however, is use my stories and designs to show people what is wrong in the world, and how to fix it.

I call this making fire starters: a deliberately polarizing design that will get people taking sides, to start a little flame in their hearts that tells them something is deeply wrong and needs burning down, for a new thing to rise from its ashes.

I design with a strong sense of multi-sensoral aesthetics, creating experiences over products. Through engaging people entirely in the design, we can create something much stronger than we would if we just focus on usability or prettyness.

Through this multi-sensoral experience, I aim to break habitualization: we have become so used to the way the world is designed, that we take it for granted. My design and art exist to make people feel things: to make people perceive things emotionally rather than what they know to be true rationally. 

For this, I take a lot of inspiration from the Magic Machines workshops: a set of design exercises that deliberately defamiliarize the experience of designing by working with materials like spaghetti strands, gummi worms, and similar materials. Through this defamiliarization, we can disconnect from our worn brainpaths of language and design thinking, and reconnect to our innate ability to make and create from our emotions.

I do not design for profit, nor do I have any intention to beyond earning my bread and butter.  Making for profit requires us to squeeze the user for money every step of the way, which I strongly believe compromises the quality of design and is unethical in every regard. 


Designing of products is naturally exploitative of the world at large, mining and farming non-human materials reducing them to human use.  We need to have humility in this: we as humans are not the most important in this world, nor is there anything that makes us better than non-humans. 

To account for this, we must design as a nomadic practice: we need to stop seeing designing as a static thing, and instead embrace the fluidity of it and the many forms that fluidity can take. We are all part of an assembly of a larger world, and to design means to take accountability for that by embracing the making of positive biographies and designs that leave the world a better place.

We must aim to make a better world, every single one of us. My unique role as designer in this is to help others make their constituencies a better place for both humans and non-humans. 

I strongly believe that any authority applied to another person (or non-human, for that matter) needs to be taken extremely seriously, and often broken altogether.  We must kill the cops of the system, for the system is what’s holding us back. I am an outspoken anti-fascist, and I believe that there is no greater enemy alive; the largest cop of them all.

 

I also am a strong defender of worker rights, and believe that the most ethical way to work in this current system is through the making of co-ops and unions. I am currently part of the Bogfolk Collective, a game design co-op, with which I made Lichoma.

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