ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS
December 1, 2018, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Screening Room
ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS highlights the impact of art in AIDS activism and advocacy today by commissioning compelling short videos from six inspiring community organizations and collectives—ACT UP NY, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, The SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective, and VOCAL NY. The program represents a wide range of organizational strategies, from direct action to grassroots service providers to nation-wide movement building, while considering the role of creative practices in activist responses to the ongoing AIDS crisis.
ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS seeks to reflect the persisting urgencies of today’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by pointing to pressing and intersecting political concerns, including HIV criminalization, Big Pharma, homelessness, and the disproportionate effects of HIV on marginalized communities. At a moment of growing interest in the histories of AIDS activism, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS foregrounds contemporary engagements between activists, artists, and cultural workers on the front lines.
ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS Films:
VOCAL for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (7:48)
VOCAL (Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders) is a New York-based grassroots membership organization that builds power among low-income people in order to create healthy and just communities. VOCAL is intentional in drawing connections between homelessness and the HIV and AIDS epidemic, understanding that access to housing impacts access to medication and the ability to maintain a regimen. In this video, VOCAL explains how it uses political theater and direct action as creative tactics to address housing policies as part of their work to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
ACT UP NY for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (8:09)
Since 1987, ACT UP NY has held weekly Monday meetings. In 2018, an arm of the collective organized #HIVPreventionDay in conjunction with Prep4All, calling on Gilead Sciences to release their patent for Truvada, a drug that has the ability to reduce HIV transmission by 99%. In this video, the ACT UP Graphics and Visual Tactics Working Group pairs audio from planning meetings with seven sites of queer history in New York while explicating the values and strategies the collective uses to build power.
Positive Women’s Network – USA for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (6:31)
Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN) is a national membership body of women living with HIV and allies that exists to strengthen the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. In this video, women reflect on how collective creative projects have helped them create comfortable, intimate spaces where they can build community and provide support for each other while also working to advocate for changes that improve lives and uphold rights.
The SPOT for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (6:03)
The SPOT (Safe Place Over Time) is dedicated to providing services and opportunities for wellness, empowerment, and leadership to young men in Jackson, Mississippi. 40 percent of gay and bisexual men in Jackson, the majority of them black, are living with HIV—the nation’s highest rate. Housed in the Jackson Medical Mall among healthcare and service providers, The SPOT offers a place for young men to openly discuss issues and challenges, work to improve their quality of life, and to promote the concept of self-worth in a variety of ways, including dance and creative expression.
Tacoma Action Collective for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (7:31)
Tacoma Action Collective is a partnership of Black community organizers working in grassroots action and education. This video chronicles how the collective organized in response to the whitewashing of the exhibition Art, AIDS, America at the Tacoma Art Museum. The collective also reflects on their work at the 2016 International AIDS Conference in South Africa, responding to interconnected structural violences with the demand #StopErasingBlackPeople.
Sero Project for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS, 2018 (7:24)
The Sero Project is a U.S.-based network of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. Sero is particularly focused on ending the inappropriate use of one’s HIV status in criminal prosecutions of PLHIV, including for non-disclosure, potential or perceived HIV exposure or HIV transmission. The 2018 conference, co-produced with Positive Women’s Network-USA, included a showcase of visual art and poetry made by advocates working against HIV criminalization.
About Day With(out) Art:
In 1989 in response to the worsening AIDS crisis and coinciding with the World Health Organization’s second annual World AIDS Day on December 1, Visual AIDS organized the first Day With(out) Art. A Visual AIDS committee of art workers (curators, writers, and art professionals) sent out a call for “mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis” that would celebrate the lives and achievements of lost colleagues and friends; encourage caring for all people with AIDS; educating diverse public about HIV infection; and finding a cure. More than 800 arts organizations, museums and galleries throughout the U.S. participated by shrouding artworks and replacing them with information about HIV and safer sex, locking their doors or dimming their lights, and producing exhibitions, programs, readings, memorials, rituals, and performances. By the mid-90’s, Day Without Art attracted more than 8000 participants throughout the world.
In 1998, for its 10th anniversary, Day Without Art became Day With(out) Art. Visual AIDS added the parentheses to highlight the ongoing inclusion of art projects focused on the AIDS pandemic, and to encourage programming of artists living with HIV. Since 2010, Visual AIDS has worked with artists and filmmakers to internationally distribute videos to museums, art institutions, schools and AIDS organizations.
This exhibition is presented as part of the IMSS Contemporary Arts Program. IMSS supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in surgical science and our relationship to the body.
Featured Image: VOCAL (Voices of Community Activists & Leaders) for ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS