The seven short videos range in subject from anti-stigma work in New Orleans to public sex culture in Chicago, highlighting pioneering AIDS activism and staging intergenerational conversations. Recalling Gregg Bordowitz’s reminder that “THE AIDS CRISIS IS STILL BEGINNING,”* the video program resists narratives of resolution or conclusion, considering the continued urgency of HIV/AIDS in the contemporary moment while revisiting resonant cultural histories from the past three decades.
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. In 1989, Visual AIDS organized the first Day Without Art, a call to the art world for mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis. For Day With(out) Art’s thirtieth year, over 100 institutions worldwide will screen STILL BEGINNING, recognizing the important and necessary work of artists, activists, and cultural workers who have responded to AIDS while emphasizing the persistent presence of the epidemic.
*The phrase first appeared in Bordowitz’s installation Drive (2002) and was recently displayed as a banner at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Shanti Avirgan, Beat Goes On
Beat Goes On is an all-archival video portrait of Keith Cylar (1958–2004), the co-founder of Housing Works and a central figure in the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) NY.
Shanti Avirgan is a documentary producer and archival researcher. Her work related to the AIDS crisis includes the feature documentaries Pills Profits Protest (2004); Sex in an Epidemic (2009); Larry Kramer in Love & Anger (2015); 5B (2019) and a forthcoming film about the photographer Peter Hujar. She has worked with a number of organizations in Brazil and the US to create, archive and curate video about ongoing HIV/AIDS activism. Shanti has also worked as a producer for National Geographic's climate change TV series Years of Living Dangerously, and the feature documentaries The Yes Men Are Revolting (2014), Life, Animated (2016) and Agility (2020), about the anthropologist Esther Newton. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from UT Austin, was a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil at the Federal University of Bahia, and has an MPhil in Anthropology from NYU, where she studied medical anthropology and documentary filmmaking.
Carl George, The Lie
Offering “ruminations on ruined nations,” The Lie aims to expose the links between war, poverty, AIDS and capitalism, and discredit the persistent mythologies that bind them all.
Carl George is an artist and activist working in experimental film, painting and collage. His short experimental films have shown in festivals internationally and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Guggenheim Museum and the New York Public Library. His 1989 film DHPG Mon Amour, documenting the radical advances made by people with AIDS in developing their own health care, is a classic of AIDS activist filmmaking and was incorporated into the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague (2012). His visual art can be seen on the Visual AIDS Artist Registry.
Nguyen Tan Hoang, I Remember Dancing
I Remember Dancing brings together an intergenerational cast of trans and queer gaysians ruminating on the past and future of AIDS, activism, gay culture, love, and (un)safe sex.
Nguyen Tan Hoang is a videomaker and film and media scholar. His short experimental videos include K.I.P, Forever Bottom!, PIRATED! and look_im_azn. He is the author of A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation (Duke UP, 2014) and articles on porn pedagogy and Southeast Asian queer cinema. He teaches literature, film, and cultural studies at UC San Diego.
Viva Ruiz, Chloe Dzubilo: Love Warrior
Viva Ruiz invites transgender AIDS activist, artist, and beloved friend Chloe Dzubilo (1960-2011) to speak via never before seen Hi-8 footage filmed by Chloe's then-partner Kelly McGowan.
Viva Ruiz is the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants and a community and nightlife-educated advocate and artist born and based in New York City. The throughline of her work across mediums is a passion to dismantle white supremacy and exorcise the colonial/colonized mindset. In 2017, she programmed sex education and practical spirituality workshops as an invited curator for the New Museum’s "Scamming the Patriarchy" youth summit. Her 2019 solo exhibition “ProAbortion Shakira: A Thank God For Abortion Introspective” at PARTICIPANT, INC included work related to the multimedia abortion de-stigmatization experiment THANK GOD FOR ABORTION.
Iman Shervington, I’m Still Me
I'm Still Me highlights Sian, a Black woman living with HIV in Louisiana, who works in partnership with the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies to address the disproportionate effect of HIV on Black women in the South.
Iman Shervington is the Director of Media & Communications at the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies (IWES), a public health non-profit. Through IWES, Iman has utilized her script development, cinematography, directing, producing, and editing skills to create over 50 short films and PSAs, a web-series, a feature-length documentary, two feature-length narrative films and an award-winning podcast. In 2016, Iman was chosen as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader to promote a culture of health in New Orleans and she received the award as a "Changemaker" in the New Orleans-based Millennial Awards. Outside of film, Iman specializes in social marketing, social media management, graphic design, photography, positive youth development, participatory action research, and media literacy.
Jack Waters/Victor F.M. Torres, (eye, virus)
Through an experimental collage of video and pictographs, (eye, virus) explores how conversations around disclosure, stigma, and harm reduction shift across generations and from public to private realms.
Jack Waters is a visual artist, film maker, writer, media artist, choreographer and performer. Jack’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, the New York and London Film Makers Cooperatives, Center for Contemporary Culture Barcelona, and Anthology Film Archives. With his partner Peter Cramer, Jack co-directed ABC No Rio from 1983–1991 and founded the non-profit arts umbrella Allied Productions, Inc., as well as the community art garden Le Petit Versailles. The first part of Jack’s musical opus Pestilence will premiere at LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club in Spring 2020. His visual art can be seen on the Visual AIDS Artist Registry.
Victor F. M. Torres is an intermedia artist born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Torres holds an MFA in Intermedia and Digital Arts and a BA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, both from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is an Adjunct Faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Torres has taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Stevenson University, George Mason University, and UMBC. He is the author of Language Writes Myth Writes Reality: Or How Does the Acculturated Body Take the Role of Culture Maker?. Torres’ sculptural work snapshots the relationship between information retention, capacitive touch, and bronze age aesthetics, thinning the threshold between primitivism and futurism. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Monmouth Museum, MIX NYC, Maryland Art Place, and Grace Exhibition Space, among others.
Derrick Woods-Morrow, Much handled things are always soft
In this film, Derrick Woods-Morrow reflects on the history of public sex in Black Chicago from the 1960s through the 1980s, in conversation with photographer and longterm survivor Patric McCoy.
Derrick Woods-Morrow’s work is a meditation on deviation and disruption. Currently based in Chicago, his artistic practice deploys a wide variety of media, including photographic transfers, digital video collage, ceramics, and narrative performance. Exploring modes of representation, he salvages, displaces, and removes raw material from sites of historical significance and trauma, reimagines their future purpose and denies their perceived function, while actively interrogating the correlation between labor and play. A recipient of the 2018 Artadia Award, Derrick received his MFA in Photography from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2016, and was most recently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography and Teaching Artist at the University of Illinois Chicago. His work appeared in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, in collaboration with Paul Mpagi Sepuya and his recent works were shown at YNCI V: Detroit Art Week Expo, in a solo exhibition curated by Darryl Terrell.