For Day With(out) Art 2024, Visual AIDS announces Red Reminds Me…, a program of seven videos reflecting the emotional spectrum of living with HIV today. Through the red ribbon and other visuals, HIV and AIDS has been long associated with the color red and its connotations—blood, pain, tragedy, and anger. Red Reminds Me… invites viewers to consider a complex range of images and feelings surrounding HIV, from eroticism and intimacy, mothering and kinship, luck and chance, memory and haunting. The commissioned artists deploy parody, melodrama, theater, irony, and horror to build a new vocabulary for representing HIV today.

The title is drawn from the words of Stacy Jennings, an activist, poet, and long-term survivor with HIV, who writes: “Red reminds me, red reminds me, red reminds me…to be free.”* Linking “red” to freedom, Jennings flips the usual connotations of the color and offers a new way of thinking about the complexity of living with HIV. Just as a prism bends and refracts light, Red Reminds Me…, expands the emotional spectrum of living with HIV. It shows us that while grief, tragedy, and anger define parts of the epidemic, the full picture contains deep, nuanced, and sometimes contradictory feelings.

Red Reminds Me… will feature newly commissioned short videos by artists working across the world:

Gian Cruz (Philippines)
Milko Delgado (Panama)
Imani Harrington (USA)
David Oscar Harvey (USA)
Mariana Iacono and Juan De La Mar (Argentina/Colombia)
Nixie (Belgium)
Vasilios Papapitsios (USA)

The artists in this program were selected through an open call process juried by artists/activists aAliy A. Muhammad and Jessica Whitbread, curator Alper Turan, and community organizer Josué Lopez. Learn more about the selected artists here.

The hour-long video program will premiere on December 1, 2024, World AIDS Day/Day With(out) Art. Visual AIDS will partner with museums, galleries, universities, and organizations around the world to present free screenings on/around December 1. Learn more and register as a partner here.

*Jennings recites this poem in the video Here We Are: Voices of Black Women Who Live with HIV, created by Davina “Dee” Conner and Karin Hayes for Day With(out) Art 2022: Being and Belonging.

Video Synopses

Gian Cruz, Dear Kwong Chi

In Dear Kwong Chi, Cruz creates a video letter to the late artist Tseng Kwong Chi, drawing from the experience of living with HIV in diaspora. Across continents and decades, Kwong Chi’s legacy acts as an anchor for Cruz amongst limited representations of Asian narratives in AIDS histories.

Milko Delgado, El Club del SIDA

Taking its title from a sensational telenovela episode, El Club del SIDA cycles through a lifetime of heavily stigmatizing images about HIV and AIDS. Delgado plays with multiple aesthetics—documentary, horror, comedy—to explore the various relationships he has had with AIDS over the course of his life.

Imani Harrington, Age of Knowing / Scraped

A professor is asked to help a young child who has been Scraped and is soon faced with a moral dilemma that either exposes the truth or upholds a lie. With a nostalgic aesthetic, Age of Knowing / Scraped traces memories of an AIDS past that continue to haunt the present.

David Oscar Harvey, Ambivalence: On HIV & Luck

Ambivalence: On HIV & Luck tackles the disorienting experience of existing with a manageable condition that our present culture insists on representing in terms of its bleak past. Interested in figuring HIV differently, the film presents a series of visual puns merging the iconography of HIV and AIDS with popular symbols of luck.

Mariana Iacono and Juan De La Mar, El VIH se enamoró de mi (HIV Fell in Love With Me)

HIV Fell in Love With Me tells the story of a woman with HIV embracing her sexuality and reconnecting with her pleasure. Filmed with an erotic aesthetic, the video reflects a pursuit towards sexual justice and autonomy for women living with HIV.

Nixie, it’s giving

Through home videos, archival footage and fantasy landscapes, it’s giving explores the connection between caregiving for a child and caregiving for a dying community. What does it mean for an HIV+ person, who carries the history and present of the AIDS-crisis in their DNA, to foster new life?

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.

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Gian Cruz

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Vasilios Papapitsios

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Juan De La Mar