HIV in Visual Culture: Looking to interdisciplinary approaches and global histories

Day: Thursday 5 April

Convenors

Jackson Davidow (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Neil Macdonald (The University of Manchester)

Session Abstract

The past ten years have witnessed a renewed interest in histories of HIV/AIDS in the art world and academy, as seen in several films, exhibitions, books, and countless citations in contemporary art and activism. Existing studies of HIV in visual culture, however, overwhelmingly focus on queer art and cultural production that originated in New York City in the late 1980s. But from its emergence in the early 1980s, the health crisis was at once local and global. The pandemic gave rise to a robust transnational network of artists and activists who developed trenchant aesthetic strategies in order to push for AIDS research, treatment, and legislation, to fight social stigma, and to cope with pervasive loss.

This session examines such histories in a different light. At a moment when art’s histories are increasingly articulated in comparative, transnational and global terms, art historians and those working in other disciplines have been invited to expand on, critique, and nuance histories and theories of HIV/AIDS in the visual field. The virus affects boundaries, communities and identities on local, global, bodily and disciplinary levels. How do these interact?

Speakers & Papers

Fiona Anderson (Newcastle University) Archive Fever: AZT, Wellcome, and the visual culture of the AIDS industrial complex

Dan Udy (King’s College London) DIY Digital Healthcare: The visual culture of online buyers’ clubs

Aleksandra Gajowy (Newcastle University) Haunting the Archive: Reparative readings of the AIDS narratives in Karol Radziszewski’s Chapel (2017)

Kyle Croft (Hunter College, New York) ‘I dream my nationality will disappear’: Privacy as a priority in the work of Teiji Furuhashi

John Potvin (Concordia University) Design and AIDS: Rethinking design history and historiographies

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