Photo credit Lewis Ronald courtesy Magali Reus; The Approach, London

Sondra Perry courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Thump, 2016, colour photograph, Courtesy of Artist and P.P.O.W New York.

Guerrilla Girls, History of Wealth and Power, 2016.

Familiar Machines

9 March – 26 May 2019
Private view – 8 March 2019 (International Women’s Day)

View the exhibition guide

Familiar Machines brings together works which explore the movement of body and machine through public and online space. The exhibition presents mechanisms of power and feminine governance that question patriarchal systems, and reinforce ideas around social disobedience.

Featuring work by Guerrilla Girls, Dominique Golden, ORLAN, Hannah Parikh, Sondra Perry, Kembra Pfahler, Millie Quick, Magali Reus, Global Sistaz and Martha Wilson. These works combine strategies that oscillate between object and subject, where raw materiality and the body are both a commodity and a vehicle for production.

The spaces where these issues intersect offer a non-hierarchical approach to how function and identity can influence through anonymity. Familiar Machines uses humour, grotesque imagery, technological manipulation and the body as a medium to diffuse discrimination.

Public Programme

Gallery Walkthrough 

16 March, 3pm – 4pm

An opportunity to engage and converse with exhibiting artists and members of the BACKLIT team. Join queer and female members of the team on a tour of the gallery and exchange personal insight and response to the works and themes in the exhibition.

FREE open to all

Queer Noise Club 

29 March, 9pm – 2am

An evening of female, non-binary and queer performances from artists working with experimental electronic music.


Art and Feminism Workshop 

25 May, 2pm – 4pm

A workshop as part of the art and feminism campaign 2019, which amplifies the voices of women online, using Wikipedia as a site for challenging one of the ways women are silenced; through the preservation of information. You’ll learn about tools that are allowing women to build a strong, popular, reactive online movement.

Book your free place.

Learning Programme

Boshemia Magazine, a History of (Maga)Zines; Talk and Zine-Making Workshop.

11 May, Talk: 3pm – 4pm, Workshop: 4pm – 5pm

Boshemia Magazine will present a free talk on the history of (Maga)zines followed by a zine-making workshop. Boshemia is an international print and online magazine centered on art, culture and feminism, brought to you by a global collective of womxn, femmes, non-binary  and LGBTQ+ folk based in the US and UK. BACKLIT’s arts writers in residence Notts/Poke will provide a space for women and non-binary peopler to present written works in response to the exhibition.


Get workshop Tickets.

Family Workshop

Saturday 27th April 2pm – 4pm

Experiment with rope, knots and clay to create sculptural artworks that are inspired by everyday life. Work with artist Hannah Parikh and explore the galleries to see her latest artwork. Have fun and work together as a family. Suitable for children aged 4+ years.


Young People’s Programme

Saturday 9th March, Saturday 13th February, Saturday 11th May 1pm – 3pm

Aged 16-25 years? Join us on the second Saturday of every month and help us to form a collective of artists and creative producers. Work collaboratively and explore the world of art, design and contemporary culture. Develop skills in project management, branding, event planning, curating and arts writing. No previous experience needed!


Community Groups

Are you looking for something new for your community group to do? Book a free tour for your group to see what’s happening inside our building. We are home to 50 contemporary artists and designers and we deliver a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events. Come and see our latest exhibitions Familiar Machines and Global Village. Refreshments will be provided.


To book a free tour contact Gina Mollett (Learning & Community Coordinator) at