Dark Room: Handling queer photographs: Languid Hands

Dark Room: Handling queer photographs: Languid Hands
Archive Shelf Location BALTIC2021M / 24/18.CHRI
Publication Date 21 Dec 2021

Coinciding with Phyllis Christopher’s exhibition Contacts at BALTIC and the publication of her book Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003 (Book Works, 2022), Ariel Goldberg, Languid Hands and Sam Dolbear contribute to a digital noticeboard reflecting on their own encounters with queer photographic archives.

Phyllis Christopher prints her photographs in home and community darkrooms, using various techniques to create unique analogue prints. Many of the works included in Contacts were hand printed for the exhibition and each image in her book Dark Room is reproduced from a print rather than a photographic negative. The way that Christopher’s photographs are made by hand resonates with the kinds of queer intimacy and do-it-yourself cultures that they show as well as how the images continue to circulate and are cared for. The digital noticeboard responds to Christopher’s photography and to issues of desire, consent, and labour that encircle queer photographic archives.

Languid Hands

We discuss our own encounters with queer photographic archives through a loose and sprawling conversation regarding intimacy, DIY cultures, desire, consent, materiality, labour and the notion of archival sensoria through the work of Ajamu X (the 2021 exhibition ‘Ajamu: Archival Sensoria’, Cubitt, 20 May – 11 July 2021, and the publication AJAMU: ARCHIVE, Ajamu X, 2021). We will put these encounters into conversations touching on the work of Phyllis Christopher (‘Contacts’, BALTIC, and Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003, Book Works, 2022).

Languid Hands is a London-based artistic and curatorial collaboration between Rabz Lansiquot (DJ, filmmaker and programmer) and Imani Robinson (writer, artist and editor). Languid Hands are the Curatorial Fellows at Cubitt, London until Spring 2022 and the curators of Frieze LIVE 2021. Their practice explores collaboration, curation, black study and experimentation across exhibitions, moving image, text, performance, publications and public programming as well as peer-led artists development and artist residencies. Their 2019 film Towards a Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace was commissioned by Jerwood Arts for the group exhibition Jerwood Collaborate! and has been worked with as artist moving image, ongoing curatorial prompt, and theoretical framework for thinking through blackness, testimony and the failures of forum and evidence.


Author Languid Hands
Formats PDF, digital noticeboard
Related Artist Phyllis Christopher
Category Photography
Keywords Documentary photography, Black-and-white photography, photographic technique, Lesbian, Queer culture, Homosexuality, Protest, AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome), Sex, Archives, Sexuality, LGBTQIA+
Related City/Region San Francisco
Related Event Phyllis Christopher: Contacts (23 October 2021 – 20 March 2022)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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