n. an archaic German word derived in the late 19th century, referring to a gay person
In August of 1867, German lawyer Karl Ulrichs stood before his colleagues of the Association of German Jurists with a shocking proclamation on his tongue. He would publicly request the revision of Germany’s anti-sodomy law, making Ulrichs one of the earliest advocates for gay rights.
Over cries of shock and protest from his colleagues Ulrichs delivered his speech, simultaneously outing himself and destroying his professional reputation. While brave, Ulrichs proclamation would mostly fall on deaf ears.
However, coining the word urnings to describe his own state of homosexuality, Ulrichs stands as a forefather of sorts for the modern western framework of queerness as identity and this work’s title serves as an homage to that history and idea. It examines what it is like for today’s ‘urnings’ in the United States and northern Europe in the almost unimaginably progressive times in which we live, at least from Ulrichs perspective.
Who is the artist?
Nicholas Pfosi is a documentary photographer whose work currently revolves around queer issues and stories. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Child Studies and Human Development from Tufts University in Boston (USA) before studying photography at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus (Denmark) for which this project was his final work.
Is this work inclusive?
This project intentionally focuses on the experiences of mostly cis gay men. Trans people are represented in this work, although not abundantly. No gay women are included. This is not intended to prioritize the cis gay male experience, or to imply that their experiences can be extrapolated or stand-in for all queer people. The reason this work chooses the focus it does is because of my own identity as a white, gay man. These are the narratives, issues and spaces to which I have access and in which I have fluency and social mobility.
I am not interested in making a prescriptive work whereby a cis gay artist articulates or explores the experiences in communities he doesn’t have affiliation. I am open and encourage critique as I want this project to grow and reflect more than just my views and community. I am open to collaboration and affiliation with work by other queer artists in their own communities and would happily field inquiries. I’m just an email away.