Dee Stoicescu

b.1989

Dee is a queer emerging artist based in what is known as Tkaronto (Toronto), Canada. They were born in Galati, Romania in 1989 and moved to Canada in 1996. They have a BA (hons.) in Women and Gender Studies from York University. They currently work as a Youth Facilitator and are involved with various HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ organizations in the city.

Their photography and multimedia works are informed by their experiences of living with HIV, surviving AIDS, being a Romanian diasporic immigrant and a queer non binary womyn. They employ maternal teachings and intergenerational knowledge, language and text, memory, heirloom objects, and natural phenomena (sunlight filtering through/into domestic spaces, shadows cast by the setting sun) to create haunting pieces that speak back to one dimensional narratives about HIV. Their intent is to queer the virus and draw attention to the entanglement of meanings and histories embedded in how certain categories are produced across time and space: risk (at-risk, high risk, etc.), desire, disclosure, criminalization, pleasure.

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Being HIV+ is something that I'd good at. I have been living with the virus all my life. I know the ins and outs of service (in)access, navigating side effects, what to eat or not to eat, how to prevent cold sores and other infections due to a weakened immune system, and other epistemological expertise. HIV, in this way, can be viewed as a ritualistic event space that 'moves' both HIV+ and non-HIV+ people in certain directions and leaves certain impressions on bodies (for more on impressions, see Ahmed's Queer Phenomenology).

My art/work is an assemblage of my politics (queer, feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist), my social location, and my dys/utopian desires. I use Romanian titles in my titles/pieces as a way of reclaiming my ancestral language that has been lost due to the pressure of assimilation and fitting into the 'good immigrant' narrative. Insisting on using my family language is a way of decolonizing my work, my tongue, and my body.

My HIV is not something that I write about, or in spite of, but rather with, and within. I see HIV as an affective event space - one that is fraught with temporal and spatial fissures, overlaps, and (re)possibilities.

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