Corpus 3 Front Cover Copy

"My Lovely,” 2004, digital photograph, J. Diaz, Corpus Magazine cover, Fall 2004

For the staff at Visual AIDS, Corpus remains a source of inspiration: a beautiful art publication engaged in HIV/AIDS work created and enjoyed by those impacted by the ongoing epidemic. For the TIME IS NOT A LINE issue of the WE WHO FEEL DIFFERENTLY journal, Cyd Nova interviewed Pato Hebert who was one of the strong forces behind the publication. Below is Nova's introduction to the interview.

Corpus Magazine was like a dream; a beautiful publication made to be kept—a physical object whose value is unquantifiable. Not only was Corpus aesthetically gorgeous, but it also eschewed the narrative of HIV that we are all so used to: the pendulum swing between resilience and irresponsibility, with HIV positive reality stars and celebs “doing” AIDS work in Africa or similar stories.

Corpus was a collection of fiction, memoir, art and journalism—by and for people affected by HIV, and it centered on the lives of gay/bi men and people of color. Corpus didn’t promote drug regimes, supposed public health agendas, or upwardly mobile lifestyles, as many publications that circulate within the AIDS world often do.

Put out by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) from 2003 to 2008, Corpus was a labor of love for friends, colleagues, and long time cultural workers, George Ayala, Jaime Cortez and Pato Hebert. In the interview below I ask Pato, an intermedia artist and an associate art professor at the New York University Tisch Department of Art and Public Policy about his involvement with Corpus, how the publication came to be, and the impact it continues to have.

When Corpus folded I was just coming into my activism around HIV. Now I am involved with the incredible and envelope pushing non-profit, St. James Infirmary, a clinic for current and former sex workers, and in 2012 I was part of the group that reformed ACT UP in San Francisco, now on hiatus. Through these experiences I can appreciate the work that went into Corpus. There are a lot of HIV related issues to challenge and call attention to. What I like about Corpus is that it didn’t seek to solve any crisis, it simply worked against the idea that some people are unimportant and that it is OK for them to disappear with their stories untold.

In this interview Pato and I also discuss the medicalization of bodies at risk, the nostalgia that people have for an AIDS movement that existed beforeCorpus, and what that means for the movement now.

Read the review on the We Who Feel Differently website: A Wedge Holding Open a Very Small Window.

We Who Feel Differently Journal is a sporadic online publication that addresses critical issues of queer culture. It features analyses and critiques of international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Questioning politics from queer perspectives.