During that panel I asked the audience what it would be like if along with the Global Village and the Media Center there was a sex cruising zone, where we engaged in negotiations of desire and risk corporally. There were a lot of cautious laughter which I interpreted as discomfort – or rather dissonance from what that would be like in juxtaposition to the reality of the conference. I wanted to bring up cruising because, in my experience, there is a depersonalization with how sex and drugs are talked about within the HIV industrial complex. The ability to understand the virus as something contracted during the pursuit of pleasure by a unique individual has been replaced by looking at populations to manage instead of people.
The last day of the conference I went to the David McDiarmid exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria gallery. David was an early gay liberation activist and artist in Australia who died from AIDS related complications in 1995. Walking into his art exhibition the sounds from his mixtape “Funeral Hits of the 90’s” surrounded the space while his posters, paintings, sculptures and ephemera drew me in: Headlines— ‘POSITIVE QUEEN FEELS NEGATIVE Goes Shopping” and ‘’Plagueboy” magazine, huge glittering mosaics with figures spreading their rectums open, the names of boys tattooed on the bodies and a head with the word AIDS spelled in a swastika. I felt as if I was at a talented friend’s house party instead of in an enshrined art institution. In the work the experience of HIV/AIDS is complex, painful but also human and therefore funny, sexual, dynamic.”—From Cyd Nova's latest piece over at the VisualAIDS blog. (I am very lucky to know you, dear comrade.)