Trojan Horse / Rainbow Flag is a program of artist films about LGBTQI+ spaces, screened within the immersive atmosphere of Tribeca. The basement dance floor will be transformed into a screening room for the evening. At a time when LGBTQI+ spaces on Canal Street and across the UK are increasingly under threat from gentrification the selected films variously configure a range of environments as places of resistance, community, desire and historical significance. By presenting both urban and rural spaces, the artists encourage us all to view our environment through a queer lens.
Artist Ian Giles’ newly commissioned film Trojan Horse / Rainbow Flag; about the closure of LGBTQI+ pub the Joiners Arms in East London provides the conceptual springboard to show works by Sam Ashby, Mathew Parkin, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings and Patrick Staff. Supported by Arts Council England.
A publication featuring a text by writer Paul Clinton alongside the transcript from Giles’ film will be distributed at the screening.
Following the screenings there will be an informal discussion about queer spaces with local leaders and organisers.
About the films
Within his filmmaking process, Ian Giles continues his employment of first-hand research and participatory workshops as structures to produce a social network. By working directly with members of Friends of the Joiners Arms (a community campaign group), Giles’ film examines the campaign to save the Joiners Arms – an iconic LGBTQI+ space. The film’s title was inspired by campaigner Amy Roberts, when describing the cynical approach of property developers seeking to push through proposals to erase queer spaces by disingenuously claiming that their LGBTQI+ status would remain unchanged post-development.
Pink Room presents an empty gay bar drawn from Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings’ self-compiled moving image archive – an urgent strategy of resistance against the gentrifying forces that are rapidly erasing the UK’s LGBTQI+ spaces. By filming spaces devoid of revellers, the artists reveal the complex visual language they employ in their self-representation as gay.
Sam Ashby’s The Colour of His Hair is based on an unrealised 1964 film script written by The Homosexual Law Reform Society – a British organisation that campaigned for the decriminalisation of male homosexual relations. Ashby’s film draws on oral histories and news clippings to create a crucial meditation on queer life before and after the UK partially legalised homosexuality in 1967.
Mathew Parkin filmed Kake on a camcorder during visits to his lover’s farm in rural Scotland. The resulting work is intensely personal – a quietly yet all-pervasively erotic contemplation of queer rural life that invites us to recontextualise queer bodies beyond the usual urban centres that tend to dominate LGBTQI+ narratives.
Patrick Staff’s Weed Killer centres around a monologue adapted from ‘The Summer of Her Baldness’, artist and writer Catherine Lord’s memoir about her experience of breast cancer. Staff accompanies the startlingly candid dialogue with a series of choreographic gestures shot on a thermal imaging camera, hinting at the all-consuming nature of serious illness and treatment. The film brings together questions of queer identity, societal attitudes to illness, and the blurry boundary between poison and cure.