An artwork by Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, showing a smiling sun over a rainbow flag.

UK Gay Bar Directory - Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings

26 May 2020

Originally presented at Somerset House as part of the UTOPIA 2016 season, the UK Gay Bar Directory is a moving image archive of gay bars in the UK. Shot over a period of nine months, the film documents over 100 gay bars across 14 cities. This is the latest in our PAUSE series, a mid-week moment to take in an artist’s work in full.

Filmed using a discreet Go-Pro camera, the 4h30m film records the bars when they are empty, capturing each venue’s interior character and personality. Made in response to the rapid closures of LGBTQ venues the directory is intended both as an art work and a public resource, a blueprint of what queer space looks like and what it is lacking.

Gay bars serve as sites of visibility, safety and community; as they disappear, gay life retreats out of public space, with often disastrous consequences. The Directory captures a moment of change in queer history but also examines the broader consequences of more than a decade of austerity: the loss of public space and the dismantling of the state infrastructure.

Audio: Jan Piaseki
Supported by Art Council England

UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility celebrated the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text, Utopia. Over 12 months, artists, designers, provocateurs and thinkers experimented with ways we might live, make, work and play, including Jeremy Deller, Fraser Muggeridge, Katie Paterson, Philip Hoare and Jessica Rinland, Clare Patey and Project O.

The UK Gay Bar Directory was presented at Somerset House as part of Utopian Voices, curated by Shonagh Marshall. Photographs of the original installation can be seen below.

Installation view of UK Gay Bar Directory. The image shows a computer and screen at a desk. Behind there is an artwork on the wall showing a smiling sun and a rainbow flag.
Installation view of UK Gay Bar Directory. The image shows 3 computers at desks. Behind there is an artwork on the wall showing a smiling sun and a rainbow flag.



Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings (both born 1991 Newcastle & London) live and work in London. They have participated in group shows including the recent ‘Cruising Pavilion: Architecture, Gay Sex and Cruising Culture’, ArkDes, Stockholm; ‘Kiss My Genders’, Hayward Gallery, London; and ‘Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (all 2019). Solo presentations include "In My Room" Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea (2020)  ‘Something for The Boys’, Two Queens, Leicester (2018) and ‘Gaby’, Queer Thoughts, NYC (2018). Recent performances took place for Image Behaviour, ICA (2019), Art Night (2019), Move Festival, Pompidou Centre (2019), and Kiss My Gender Live, Southbank Centre (2019). The artists are represented by Arcadia Missa, London and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.