JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

Acknowledgements: In 2006 while working towards a MA in Cinema Studies at New York University, Prof. Robert Sklar oversaw an independent study in which I explored the same topic as that herein. Throughout my six years as NYU, as both an undergraduate and graduate student, Prof. Sklar was a source of inspiration and encouragement. A reservoir of information, he delighted my cinephilia just as he bettered my scholarship. Though vastly different from my work of 2006, this piece is indebted to Prof. Sklar and is dedicated to his memory. My essay also relied upon the support and insights of my partners in crime, Alexandra Juhasz and Marty Fink, who, as we gays are fond of saying these days, are everything.

1. Lee, Nathan. “With the Aim of Making it Snap,” in Undetectable (New York: Visual AIDS, 2012). Lee’s recent art exhibit for Visual AIDS, “Undetectable,” worked toward signifying the rather vague parameters of HIV/AIDS today. “Undetectable” was staged May 31-June 30, 2012 at the La MaMa La Galleria, 6 E. 1st Street, New York City and subsidized by Visual AIDS. [return to page 1]

2. These include United in Anger (Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman, 2012), We Were Here (David Weissman, 2011), Sex in an Epidemic (Jean Carlomusto, 2011), and How to Survive a Plague (David France, 2011).

3. Crimp, Douglas, “AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism, October 43, Winter 1987, 3-16, quotation on 3.

4. See Gregory Tomso, “The Humanities and HIV/AIDS: Where Do We Go From Here?. PMLA, 125:2, March 2010, 443-453.

5. A Red Ribbon Around My House(Portia Rankoane, 2009), the film discussed in the introduction to our special section, is one of the dozens of films produced by Steps for the Future. For a fuller discussion of the project see my essay David Oscar Harvey,“Sub-Saharan African Sexualities, HIV/AIDS Educational Film and the Question of Queerness” in LGBT Transnational Identity and the Media, ed. Christopher Pullen (New York: Palgrave/MacMillan) 2012.

6. Edkin’s remark was made in personal email correspondence with me.

7. Andre Bazin, “The Ontology of the Photographic Image,” in What is Cinema, Volume 1, ed. and tran. By Hugh Gray (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1967). 9-16, quotation on 10.

8. See Hallas, Roger: Reframing Bodies, AIDS, Bearing Witness, and the Queer Moving Image (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).

9. For another example see Castalgia, Christopher and Reed, Christoper, If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promises of the Queer Past (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

10 Kohnen, Melanie, “AIDS, Generation and History in Brothers and Sisters,” Flow TV, volume 12, 2010. <http://flowtv.org/2010/09/aids-history-and-generation-in-brothers-sisters/> Last Accessed July 7, 2013 [return to page 2]

11. Juhasz, Alexandra, “AIDS Video: To Dream and Dance with the Censor,” Jump Cut, 52, Summer 2010.

12. Juhasz

13. For a version of my film Red Red Red in textual form, see my essay David Oscar Harvey, “Red Red Red: an Essay/Film in Eleven Pieces, Wsq 40:1&2, Spring/Summer 2012, special issue on the “Viral.”

14. Red Red Red discussed the intergenerational dynamics inherent to HIV/AIDS at greater length. In it I state:

“During the crisis era of the epidemic, that is during the time before successful treatments of the virus, communities, like the activist coalition ACT-UP, passionately fought for rights and accessible treatments for people with HIV/AIDS, as well as more just modes of representation, one that would combat the grotesque and sensational one set forward by the traditional media. These people, who came a generation before me and whom I tremendously admire, were vigilant and militant in making themselves and their cause seen and listened to. But they are gone.

Gone, not meaning deceased, though some are, but the vibrant movement that they championed is a thing of the past. This is understandable. AIDS is different now. In the U.S., the virus, when treated, oftentimes does not progress to AIDS. We might say we are no longer living in the era of AIDS but of HIV. The cause is less dire, the stakes less high. But for those of us who are positive, perhaps particularly for those of us are recently diagnosed, it is difficult to parse what exactly being HIV positive means.

Compared to the early days of the epidemic, we are lucky, fortunate to be the bearers of a hopeful and healthy forecast, no doubt. But this does not mean that virus doesn’t change us. With it, we inherit a history; one of pride and shame, activism and defeat. Identifications with most of these things, however, entail a feeling backwards, amended by assurances of a long hold on futurity. But what of the present? What does it mean to be living with HIV now? I do not know. I don’t see anything.

I have heard it said that this feeling of nothingness, this absence of a secure identification with what it means to be HIV positive is a luxury. I can’t entirely accept this, though I’m sympathetic to the both the sentiment and manner of thinking. It does mean something be HIV positive. But what? I long for this; long to see it. To orient myself, not to it, but towards it—whatever this it may be.”

15. For both a convincing close reading and a chronicle of the circumstances of Blue’s productionsee Lawrence, Tim, “AIDS, the Problem of Representation, and the Pluraity of Derek Jarman’s BlueSocial Text 52/53, Fall/Winter 1997. 241-64.

16. Quoted in “Puppet Service Announcement,” The Hufffington Post, January 23, 2013, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/avenue-q-logo-hiv_n_2536650.html> last accessed July 1, 2013

17. Brown, Wendy, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).


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