Visual AIDS would like to thank everyone who joined us at the New Museum on December 5, 2014 for the NYC museum premiere of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, for the 25th Anniversary of Day With(out) Art.
To honor the 25th year of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned seven artists/collectives—Rhys Ernst, Glen Fogel, Lyle Ashton Harris, Hi Tiger, Tom Kalin, My Barbarian, and Julie Tolentino/Abigail Severance—to create provocative work about the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic, focusing on the issues of today. The program, titled ALTERNATE ENDINGS, highlights the diverse voices of seven artists that use video to bring together charged moments and memories from their personal perspective amidst the public history of HIV/AIDS. All seven videos are now available for online viewing in the ALTERNATE ENDINGS album on Visual AIDS' Vimeo account HERE.
The New Museum's post-screening discussion featured artists Glen Fogel, My Barbarian (Alexandro Segade, Jade Gordon, and Malik Gaines) and Tom Kalin, providing insights into the process and perspective behind the videos. Clips from the thought-provoking and generative discussion are embedded below, and also viewable on Visual AIDS' Vimeo account HERE.
Excerpt: “I find it intriguing because I think it's all about the language around it, like the use of the word feminism, whether we call a work feminist or activist; it has to do with the parameters of thinking. But from my perspective, you all make activist work... Also having been a member of the collective you are citing [Gran Fury] that made that work, some of that work existed only in the public domain and had very didactic aims, but a lot of the later part of Gran Fury's work was very much about ambivalence, emotion, contradiction. Much of the later work we did was coming out of trying to make a picture—a contradictory picture—of what it felt like to be alive, not necessarily trying to express something didactically. In some ways I think it is a shift in the way that we talk about work that is politically engaged. I am intrigued by why the word activism has now been shifted to mean something different, maybe, than it meant twenty years ago. The reason why I wanted all of you to participate in this project is partly because I identified strongly with what you are all doing as artists; a continuity of thinking around a political approach to art-making.” -Tom Kalin
Excerpt: “There is a kind of mourning that is part of the piece for multiple people, so I think it is this kind of multitude: it is a specific relationship that we had with the scholar [José Esteban Muñoz], a relationship we had with this public figure [Pedro Zamora] and then relationships we had with other people, and then with the people we never met; a generation of people that we feel very much influenced by but maybe we didn't connect with on all levels." -Alexandro Segade of My Barbarian
Excerpt: "There was definitely a part of creating a kind of disorientation for the film that would mirror a kind of disorientation when something like that [a boyfriend disclosing their HIV seroconversion] enters into a relationship. I wanted to create this idea of the camera itself being a foreign entity in a way that was happening irregardless of what was going on around it; almost as though things keep happening, things keep moving on in life, no matter what, even when something that monumental or life-shifting happens." -Glen Fogel
"One of the things that is so interesting about [the 3rd season of the Real World: San Francisco] is the way they construct the real. We are supposed to believe that it's the real world; they say it is, they say it really happened. But there is so much we know now about the falseness of reality television; and there it looks a little rougher, more believable but it's still something where the music is playing and there are a lot of fast cuts, tilted cameras and there is this way to make it "real". We wanted to strip out all of that. That included doing a realistic reinterpretation of the parts. We wanted to actually create that distance." -Alexandro Segade of My Barbarian
Videography by Bart Mastronardi. Editing by Azmi Mert Erdem.