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Day With(out) Art 2023: Everyone I Know Is Sick

Visual AIDS announces a program of six videos generating connections between HIV and other forms of illness and disability. Inspired by a statement from Cyrée Jarelle Johnson in the book Black Futures, Everyone I Know Is Sick examines how our society excludes disabled and sick people by upholding a false dichotomy of health and sickness. Inviting us to understand disability as a common experience rather than an exception to the norm, the program highlights a range of experiences spanning HIV, COVID, mental health, and aging. The commissioned artists foreground the knowledge and expertise of disabled and sick people in a world still grappling with multiple ongoing pandemics.

Everyone I Know Is Sick will feature newly commissioned short videos by artists working across the world:

Dorothy Cheung (Hong Kong)
Hiura Fernandes & Lili Nascimento (Brazil)
Beau Gomez (Canada/Philippines)
Dolissa Medina & Ananias P. Soria (USA)
Vasilios Papapitsios (USA)
Kurt Weston (USA)

The artists in this year’s program were selected through an open call process juried by writer Kimberly Drew and artists Marguerite Van Cook, Charan Singh, and Pato Hebert.

The hour-long video program will premiere on December 1, 2023, World AIDS Day/Day With(out) Art. Visual AIDS partners with over 150 museums, galleries, universities, and organizations around the world to present free screenings on/around December 1.

If you are interested in screening this year’s Day With(out) Art video program, please visit this page for more information.

Commissioned Videos

Dorothy Cheung, Heart Murmur

Heart Murmur invites people living with HIV in Hong Kong to reflect on their experience of the COVID pandemic, juxtaposing their voices with the urban landscape.

Hiura Fernandes and Lili Nascimento, Aquela criança com AID$ (That Child with AID$)

That Child with AID$ tells the story of Brazilian advocate and artist Lili Nascimento, who was born with HIV in 1990. Lili has worked to expand narratives about living with HIV beyond the limited images and ideologies that permeate the AIDS industry.

Beau Gomez, This Bed I Made

This Bed I Made presents the bed as a place of solace and agency beyond just a site of illness or isolation. Through the shared stories of individuals living with HIV in the Philippines, the video explores modes of care, restoration, and abundance in the midst of pandemic pervasion.

Dolissa Medina and Ananias P. Soria, Viejito/Enfermito/Grito (Old Man/Sick Man/Shout)

Ananias, a San Francisco Bay Area artist and immigrant, performs the folkloric Danza de los Viejitos (the Dance of the Old Men). Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, where the dance originates, Ananias interprets its movements through the lens of his spirituality, his long-term HIV-related disabilities, and his search for a place in the world.

Vasilios Papapitsios, PARAPRONOIA

Papapitsios describes PARAPRONOIA as a “meditation on how we can(not) heal in the environments that make us sick, from the perspective of an infected neurodivergent faggot.” Combining auto-fiction with magical realism, Papapitsios humorously reimagines narratives around mental health and chronic illness.

Kurt Weston, Losing the Light

Losing the Light reflects the artist’s bitter battle to stay in this world as a long-term survivor of AIDS who has lost his vision to CMV retinitis. An experimental self-portrait, the video evokes the dissolution and fragmentation of the artist's body, representing the impact of blindness, long-term HIV infection, and the cumulative effects of decades of antiretroviral medication.

Artist biographies are available here.

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Vasilios Papapitsios

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Kurt Weston

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Beau Gomez