Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings
If These Fossils Could Talk They Would Tell You Who Got Fucked and Who Didn’t, 2015
Quinlan and Hasting’s video work If These Fossils Could Talk, They Would Tell You Who Got Fucked And Who Didn’t is a nuanced response to Jose Muñoz’s writings on the shifting horizons of queerness and Leslie Feinberg’s seminal novel, Stone Butch Blues. Through their practice which spans video, drawing and performative events, the artists explore and scrutinise the erasure of queer spaces and the resilience of the gay bar as an adaptable form that both resists and perpetuates dominant forms of social oppression. In their video work, Quinlan and Hastings create sophisticated CGI renderings of imagined landscapes that are reinvested and relayed with the potentiality of the sublime as queer. Exploring the radical potential of queer objects in a post-apocalyptic and post-human world, their videos posit climate change as a metaphor for gentrification, the subsequent erasure of social groups and alternative queer spaces in London as well as transnationally and transhistorically.
The following extract has been selected by Quinlan and Hastings to accompany If These Fossils Could Talk, They Would Tell You Who Got Fucked And Who Didn’t:
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
When the waiter walked away from our table Edna leaned forward. “What’s it like, passing?” I could tell she’d wanted to ask me that all evening.
“All my life I’ve been told there’s something really wrong with me because of the way I am as a woman. But if I’m a man, then I’m a nice young man. The way I am is just fine.” Edna waited for more.
“Some of it is fun. I was tied up so tight all the time as a he-she. It feels good to be free to do little things, like go to a public bathroom in peace or to be touched by a barber. It’s nice to be smiled at by strangers or flirted with at a lunch counter.”
Edna studied my face. “Then why are your eyes even sadder than I remember?”
“Oh, I think …” I sighed.
Edna interrupted me. “I’m interested in what you think, Jess. But tell me how you feel.” I had forgotten how much I loved femmes. Another butch would have nodded when I sighed, content that the whole story had been articulated in the rush of air. But Edna pressed for words.
“I feel like a ghost, Edna. Like I’ve been buried alive. As far as the world’s concerned, I was born the day I began to pass. I have no past, no loved ones, no memories, no me. No one really sees me or speaks to me or touches me.”
Edna’s eyes filled with tears. She reached forward and took my hand in hers. The waiter interrupted us. “More coffee, sir?” I shook my head.
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.