Video

things are different now...

Ryan Conrad

2012, 03:52 minutes, Colour, English

TAPECODE 2129.01

How do younger queers who have never known a world without AIDS, including the accompanying prevention and treatment strategies that have been popularized over the last two decades, relate to the history of the epidemic and to those that managed to survive its earlier conditions?  This is the central question that motivates this project’s focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and how its meaning has shifted and changed along generational lines. By collaging archival footage from ACT UP’s political funerals with portrait images of twenty of my peers, I try to imagine what it would feel like to lose all of them in a few years’ time to AIDS.  I wonder what loss on that scale feels like and whether I would have had the strength and courage to fight back as tirelessly as those whose ghosts I’ve stumbled upon through old reels of AIDS Community Television and DIVA TV footage. Furthermore, this project reflects on how the feeling of loss has particular meaning and value in connecting queer subjects in a shared affective framework. This focus on loss is not solely fixed to the material disappearance of thousands upon thousands of queer bodies to a deadly disease exasperated by obscene government negligence, but the use of this material loss as a productive historical site to think about how younger generations of queers try to grasp at the incomprehensibility of AIDS as genocide. Without the first hand experience of burying your entire circle of friends and lovers, how could one ever understand what it was like?

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