RÍAN KEARNEY is a curator, writer and researcher based in the Midlands.



Queer Space Archive


Three Models for Change
11 - 16 Jun 2018

Poster by Chris Alton

Chris Alton, Ian Giles and Greta Hauer
Co-curated by Ryan Kearney, Alice O’Rourke and Ariadne Tzika

In collaboration with Grand Union and the University of Birmingham.

Three Models for Change is a group exhibition asserting the importance of historical awareness in establishing future potentials of communities. The works in this exhibition fluctuate between three actual and staged narratives: the formation of a fictional Quaker-punk band; the staging of cross-generational Queer histories; the uncertainty surrounding a newly formed volcanic island and its territorial disputes.

References to utopian moments, groups, and places question current socio-political systems, offering possible new ways of thinking and being. Three Models for Change is an ambiguous statement and this exhibition embodies neither utopian nor pragmatic outcomes, but instead provides a platform of shared histories to stimulate thoughts around alternative futures.

This exhibition includes existing work and new commissions by artists Chris Alton, Ian Giles and Greta Hauer.

Chris Alton’s Still Anarchy brings together two seemingly separate groups, Quakers (mid-17th century) and Punks (mid-1970s). What at first appears to be a contradictory juxtaposition, both groups share several key similarities: they originate from periods of socio-political unrest and enact resistant strategies. This commissioned installation stages the potential of a fictional Quaker-punk band imagined by the artist.

Ian Giles’ film After BUTT engages discussions on BUTT Magazine (2001-2011), the shared nature of distributed ephemera, and Queer permanence. Recorded, transcribed, re-enacted: the men depicted, each of whom were cast based on their resonance with the text, perform Giles’ conversations with the magazine’s founders. Presented in an exhibition of speculative change, it encompasses the importance of intergenerational awareness within communities and how this can influence a movement towards Queerer futures.

Greta Hauer’s Vigorous Activities explores the potentials of Nishinoshima, a newly formed island comprised of volcanic mass (November 2013), 1000km off the coast of Japan. Due to its distance from mainland Japan, Nishinoshima has expanded the Japanese Economic Zone, and is continuing to do so, heightening the existing conflict within the South China Sea. A topographical model, set of fictional writings and commissioned video work re-enact the rise of the island and its disruption of the seemingly utopian model.

Chris Alton is currently participating in Syllabus III and previously studied at Middlesex University. Recent commissions include; The Billboard, Spit & Sawdust, Cardiff (2018); and Adam Speaks, The National Trust, Croome, Worcestershire (2017). Recent exhibitions include; more of an avalanche, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2018; You're Surrounded by Me, Turf Projects, Croydon, 2017; Of the Sea, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham (2016); Under the Shade I Flourish, xero, kline & coma, London (2016); Outdancing Formations, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg (2015). He was recently selected to participate in Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2018) and has been awarded the Edith-Russ-Haus Award for Emerging Media Artists of the Sparda Bank 2015; Lewisham Arthouse Graduate Studio Award 2015; and Collyer Bristow Graduate Award 2014.

Ian Giles previously studied his MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art and was a LUX associate Artist 2012/13. Recent exhibitions, screenings and performances include;After BUTT, Chelsea Space, London (2018);  Multiplexing II, Cineworld Cinema, Glasgow with LUX Scotland (2017); AsToAsIsTo,a collaboration with the Youth Forum, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Connected Works, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA (2016); m-Health, Cell Project Space, London (2015); Videoclub: Selected IV, UK national tour including Nottingham Contemporary (2014); The In Between, Carroll/Fletcher, London (2013); 21st Century Screening, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012); and Whitstable Biennale (2010). He was a resident at Hospitalfield, Scotland in 2017 and awarded a Production Bursary by Spike Island and The Centre for Moving Image Research 2016.

Greta Hauer previously received an MA from the School of Arts and Design, Kassel and the Royal College of Art, London. Recent exhibitions include; Virtualities & Realities, Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia (2017); Uncertainty Playground, London College of Communication, London (2017); ALL’S ONE/IMMUNE ZONE, Roomservice Gallery, Brookyln, USA (2016); Of the Sea, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham (2016); the things we didn’t have before, Pump House Gallery (2015); and DAAD ART SHOW, Display Gallery, London (2015). She was a resident at the Villa Lena Art Foundation, Palaia in 2017 and at Roomservice Gallery, Brooklyn, in 2016.

Review for New Art West Midlands by Laura O’Leary
In conversation, New Art West Midlands

Photos by Patrick Dandy