A very special welcome to VIR Jamie Knight who will be digging into the ICI’s extensive ‘AIDS archive’ of documents and ephemera created during our 20+ years of AIDS activism. I will be very curious to see how he uses this material to unpack, as he terms it, our… cultural amnesia created by decades of “wounded attachments.”
It’s been over 2 decades since I was invited to give my ‘response’ to the AIDS pandemic and its impact on the field of art history. The black hole at the center of my ‘assessment’ (pictured above) represents a deep and painful feeling of loss that has not abated over the years. In fact, the feelings it elicits seem even more stinging today. When I look at this image-text, after many years of deep storage, the large and imposing ‘black sun’ in its center is unable to hold any weight against the small dedication in the lower right corner. Those two words were added, no doubt, as a personal postscript; their small size reminds us of the etiquette surrounding public displays of private grief. Today, we know that with AIDS, all grief is public and political. By 1995, that visual whisper would become the opening salvo to the clarion call of all our AIDS activism.
for Rory … we’ll keep repeating your name
Our AIDS activism was born out of a raw, numbing grief, was weaned on disillusionment, and eventually became codified into a few long-term projects that were, and are still, fueled by a kind of melancholic compulsion-to-repeat.
I look forward to finding out.
-- L. Patt, Director