December 1, 2020-January 31, 2021
Visual Studies Workshop is proud to partner with Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2020 by presenting TRANSMISSIONS, a program of six new videos considering the impact of HIV and AIDS beyond the United States. The video program brings together artists working across the world: Jorge Bordello (Mexico), Gevi Dimitrakopoulou (Greece), Las Indetectables (Chile), George Stanley Nsamba (Uganda), Lucía Egaña Rojas (Chile/Spain), and Charan Singh (India/UK).
The program does not intend to give a comprehensive account of the global AIDS epidemic, but provides a platform for a diversity of voices from beyond the United States, offering insight into the divergent and overlapping experiences of people living with HIV around the world today. The six commissioned videos cover a broad range of subjects, such as the erasure of women living with HIV in South America, ineffective Western public health campaigns in India, and the realities of stigma and disclosure for young people in Uganda.
As the world continues to adapt to living with a new virus, COVID-19, these videos offer an opportunity to reflect on the resonances and differences between the two epidemics and their uneven distribution across geography, race, and gender.
Visual AIDS is a New York-based non-profit that utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.
The VSW Film Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the ArtWorks program of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Las Indetectables, Me Cuido
Synopsis: Me Cuido (I take care of myself/I’m careful) questions the relationship between colonial paradigms of health, religious guilt, and the stigmatization of people living with HIV in the context of Chile’s capitalist and neoliberal regime.
Jorge Bordello, Ministry of Health
Synopsis: Ministry of Health employs the aesthetics of horror movies and silent film to evoke the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals on four men living with HIV in the city of Tlaxcala, Mexico.
Gevi Dimitrakopoulou, This is Right; Zak, Life and After
Synopsis: This is Right: Zak, Life and After is a portrait of Zak Kostopoulos, a well-known queer AIDS activist who was publicly lynched to death in Athens in 2018. Zak’s chosen family and community highlight Zak’s activist life and the response that his murder has galvanized.
George Stanley Nsamba, Finding Purpose
Synopsis: Finding Purpose reflects on the experience of producing a film about the lives of teens born with HIV in Uganda and the pervasive stigma that surrounded the project.
Lucia Egaña Rojas, Female Disappearance Syndrome
Synopsis: Lucia Egaña Rojas challenges gendered representations of HIV and AIDS, investigating what Lina Meruane has termed “female disappearance syndrome”—the erasure of women living with HIV from conversations about the epidemic.
Charan Singh, They Called it Love, But Was it Love?
Synopsis: They Called it Love, But Was it Love? depicts scenes from the lives of kothis living in India. Reduced to a “risk group” by public health campaigns and misunderstood through Western notions of gender and sexuality, these protagonists have real lives and inhabit unique worlds with their own quests for fulfilment and love.