Quinlan and Hastings: Mapping the queer landscape

Quinlan and Hastings: Mapping the queer landscape

4 May 2023

Through their work, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings explore the history, politics and iconography of queer culture; mapping the queer landscape in a variety of ways that place underrepresented narratives in the spotlight. Explore this in more detail through ‘Gaby’, a 2018 film work that is currently playing in their ‘Portraits’ exhibition.

Named after their best friend, artist Gaby Sahhar, the film Gaby is comprised of three vignettes that explore storytelling on a broad scale from personal experiences to wide political impact; reflecting on the lived experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and raising questions about safety and its relationship with the police.

In their films, Quinlan & Hastings use a variety of objects from mobile phones to professional cameras. They’ve also created works with CGI, found footage, archives and moving image.

Hastings and Quinlan’s succinct examination of gay representation brings its viewer from macro- to micro-political scales of space, intimacy and desire, and carefully deciphers the troublesome history of gay politics that must still be articulated today.

Jeppe Ugelvig

Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Gaby, 2018, video still. Courtesy of the artists.

The vignettes in Gaby include:

  • a montage of found video clips showing police officers dancing to ‘Y.M.C.A.’ at pride parades. In recent years, clips like these have received a great deal of positive reaction, although the apparent friendliness of the officers is a stark contrast to the reports we hear in the news of police brutality,
  • an animated sequence of a 1977 issue of Christopher Street magazine. Running from 1976 until 1995, Christopher Street was one of the USA’s most widely read gay-issues based publications,
  • Gaby Sahhar recounting a brief relationship they had as a teenager with a straight-presenting policeman.
Two people watching Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Gaby, 2018. Photo by Dom Moore.

The Box acquired Gaby in April 2021, with the support of the Contemporary Art Society, and this is the first time it’s been included in an exhibition since then.

Finding different ways to highlight the connections between the historic and the contemporary is a key part of our approach and Gaby is a work that resonates with our collections - from our moving image archive, to the material we’ve been collecting over the last decade relating to the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

You can see Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings: Portraits on display until the end of 4 June. Exhibition opening hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holidays. Admission is free and there's no need to book.