Today, December 1st, is Day With(out) Art, a national day of action and mourning organized by Visual AIDS with arts organizations and institutions in response to the AIDS crisis. It is also World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.
In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned seven artists/collaboratives to create short videos for a program titled ALTERNATE ENDINGS, which are now available to watch online. This year Visual AIDS has created another video program –ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, previewed above.
From their Vimeo channel–
Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.
In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans people.
The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.
Next week on 12/7 (Thursday), MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles will be screening this program followed by a performance by Kia LaBeija and a discussion featuring Reina Gossett and Kia LaBeija in conversation with Day With(out) Art curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (this event is free)
In New York it will be screened on 12/4 (Monday) at Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture with a post-screening discussion featuring artists Cheryl Dunye, Ellen Spiro and Thomas Allen Harris in conversation with curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (free but make sure to register as the event at The Whitney filled up quickly)