Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, 'Everything Is Folly In This World That Does Not Give Us Pleasure ’, 2021
Why is public art important today? How did this inform the work for CIRCA?
HANNAH QUINLAN & ROSIE HASTINGS:
Public work is always important. Art should be a public resource that primarily speaks to and of the people.
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings: In My Room, 2021
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings’ first solo institutional exhibition In My Room brought together film, fresco painting and works on paper. As a new body of work, In My Room developed the artists’ inquiry into the politics, histories and aesthetics of queer spaces and culture. This inquiry builds on their travels across the UK whilst making ‘UK Gay Bar Directory (UKGBD)’ 2016, a moving image archive of gay bars, responding to the systematic closure of LGBTQ+ dedicated social spaces. To Quinlan and Hastings, it became apparent through this research that the gay scene caters predominantly to white gay men. This prompted them to consider how this scene strengthens the historic male access to capital and power within the urban landscape.
Wishing to explore the question of access further in their new film, Quinlan and Hastings went location scouting in Birmingham’s gay village, only to find that in fact many of the bars and clubs have recently closed or will close in the next few months, due to the area being rapidly redeveloped as luxury residential accommodation in anticipation of the new high- speed rail line. This gave the film – and Quinlan and Hastings’ ongoing wider archival project – a new urgency to capture these historical LGBTQ+ spaces at a time of immense change, thereby highlighting the impact of gentrification upon the cultural substructures of a city and its gay communities.