it’s like all our bones // with their marrow and sliver // are made invisible // and our mouths are turned to hands // and instead of bodies we’re seen as shadows // and then it surprises you // when we throw our shades // throw our whole heavy weights // against the windows // and make the glass scream
Editor’s note: On Saturday March 1st, Visual AIDS organized a panel to discuss the YOUR NOSTALGIA IS KILLING ME poster which created so much online controversy. A vibrant crowd turned up at the NYPL to hear from both Ian Bradley-Perrin and Vincent Chevalier, AIDS activists and creators of the poster. Below is the speech Ian addressed the crowd with.
A lot has been tossed around about the poster’s meaning for and engagement with an older generation, and it’s certainly true that it speaks using a rich history of which the people sitting here with me are all part. However, that the poster uses much of the canon of AIDS agitprop and historical narrative, as well as the symbols of the commercialization and capital appropriation of AIDS represented by the United Colors of Benneton ad and Bono’s Inspi(red) campaign, is speaking less to the lived experience and many layered contextualization of these images in the experience of my co-panelists, but more to the place these images are taking up in a master narrative of HIV and AIDS. This is a distinction that I wanted to emphasize.
A common critique of the work of Vincent and me was that it is an academic piece with no place in the hard world of a lived experience with HIV or the direct action that ACT UP has long participated in. I am not going deny that the poster has many layers to it, and my studies in capital H history are part of that, but I wanted to talk for a moment about the poster as a personal appeal. Continue reading →
if you want to be pure again, when you are ten, and there is blood that sometimes runs down your thighs because your mom said that now you are a woman, there are things you need to do in a specific order and with special care because the realm of care and order is where girls go when they become women.
if you want to be pure again, when you are ten, and the blood has stopped running after a few days and you have checked and checked to make sure that there are no tell-tale droplets after the third or fourth or fifth day depending on what your body has decided to do that month, because a drop in this case you have been led to understand is enough to poison a bucket a bathtub a lake the nile the ocean the whole city of cairo and its governorates egypt the country the middle east as in the whole region israel included africa the continent the polar ice caps all of it somehow unclean. Continue reading →
Yesterday, Commissioners gathered on a freezing Tuesday night in February to eat cookies and hear lewd and lascivious stories at Dixon Place’s cozy lounge. It was the launch for the Uncensored Collection, an e-book of lesbian erotica published by Private Commission, a Brooklyn-based queer writing group. You can purchase your own copy of the collection for $2.99. Please write a review and say what you think!
How useful is it to rail against thoughtless people? Is it better to focus that energy instead on the people who are getting it right, or at least putting forth a serious effort to get it right? Is there really any point in spending a ton of time and energy trying to craft a cutting response to a blowhard who is perpetuating old and stale stereotypes through his work? Or am I better off just ignoring him, neglecting to pay him any attention in the same way he and his ilk have so blithely disregarded so many others for centuries?
Venting can definitely feel cathartic, but it can also end up feeling like a bottomless pit—once you’ve sunken in, it’s almost impossible to see out of it.