It’s been ten years since the financial crash. Ten years under the politics of austerity imposed by an increasingly draconian conservative government. Ten years of the current form of state lead terrorism that extends beyond the public, into the intimate lives and inner worlds of those affected by the dismantling of social programs.
Unable to withstand the increasing pressures of a financial system which privileges corporations over small business, licensing laws and rampant gentrification, LGBTQ culture has been dramatically reduced. Over 25% of LGBTQ venues have closed or been shutdown since 2007. Proportional to these closures we have witnessed a vast increase addiction and mental health problems within the LGBTQ community, HIV infection has increased by more than 20% (with more than 1 in 8 gay men in London now testing positive), meanwhile the government has cut funding for HIV prevention. Under these conditions it is difficult to accept austerity as anything other than a cruel and violent strategy of domination.
For their exhibition at Arcadia Missa, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings consider queer sociality as a mode of resistance set against an increasingly barren cultural landscape. The sparse gallery reflects the closure of queer venues, the emptying out and buying out of London’s community spaces. “We Lost Them At Midnight’ presents a set against which stories and queer mythologies may be enacted.
In the drawing, The Dudes, we are confronted by a community claiming the pleasure of sitting and experiencing, navigating a life worth living against all odds and approximate to everyday structural violence. Illuminated by a pink glow, we encounter a fantasy of queer sociality as critical and utopian. The scene in The Dudes depicts a space between the real and the imagined, between the present and the uncertain future, between midnight and dawn.
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings (B. 1991, Newcastle/ London) live and work in South East London. They graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2014. Their work centers themes of queerness and resistance, and includes an ongoing project @Gaybar, wherein the artists rematerialise the historic gay bar as a container for queer practice. Selected solo/duo exhibitions include Fuck Me On The Middle Walk, Truth and Consequences, Geneva (2017); GENTRIFICATION, presented by Daata Editions and Zuecca Projects, 15th Venice Architecture Biennale (2016); How to survive a flood @Gaybar, DRAF Studio, London (2016) and Cruising Extinction, @Gaybar, Oslo 10, Basel (2015). Selected group exhibitions include (X) A Fantasy, DRAF, London (2017); Coming Out, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2017); Utopian Voices Here & Now, Somerset House, London (2016); No! I Am No Singular Instrument, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2016); Curators’ Series #9: Ways of Living by Arcadia Missa, DRAF, London (2016); CONDO Cinema (screening), Genesis Cinema, London (2016) and S, Arcadia Missa, London, (2015). Their video archive of the gay bars of major U.K. Cities – The U.K. Gaybar Directory – has been recently acquired by The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings
Pencil on paper, framed: 155 × 210 x 5 cm
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings
Sound Installation: 11 minutes 12 seconds.