A Blueprint for Living - Rhiannon Adam

4 Aug 2023 – 20 Aug 2023

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Rhiannon Adam (Cork, 1985) is a photographic artist working within the documentary remit, with a focus on analogue technologies. Specifically, Adam’s work explores the materiality of the photograph itself, and explores its relationship to history.


A Blueprint for Living is a new body of work created to coincide with Margate Pride. The show explores the intersections between photographic process, colour, technology, and history to present a queer blueprint for happiness – a blueprint that has been conspicuous in its absence, with queer lives being forced into secrecy, and a generation decimated by the AIDS crisis.

As with all of Adam’s work – the choice of photographic process is symbolic. Polaroids are presented as a nod to subversive under-counter exchanges when homosexuality was still criminalized, and cyanotypes play the part of the missing blueprint – defiantly celebrating the visceral queer joy encapsulated in Adam’s archive of imagery of queer nightlife. Touch activated dyes conceal and reveal latent images, alluding to the contact and exchange between queer bodies that continues to be feared.

The show is also a rumination on the world’s favourite colour. Here, it is an ode to Derek Jarman’s era-defining work, Blue, (originally planned as “A Blueprint for Bliss”) where Jarman’s degradation of sight as a result of AIDS is framed by the colour blue, and a reappropriation of the colour of the conservative party – the party responsible for Section 28, the first piece of anti LGBT+ legislation this country experienced in a century, the party now responsible for blocking reforms to the gender recognition act.

In 2023, we are under threat from ever-more insidious forces, with biases reinforced through machine learning. AI systems have highlighted the hyper normalization that forms the collective knowledge base. Within the world of AI, an image prompt for a “happy couple” includes only images of heteronormativity. AI image generators have been asked by the artist to create images of queer happiness – the often-poor results reveal perception gaps within the systems themselves.

This text was in part created by Chat GPT, in an effort to train and re-educate the AI system, forcing it to acknowledge and absorb the reality of queer legacies, and encourage algorithmic diversity.

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Kavel Rafferty

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Rhiannon Adam


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