Poster ns

Still from the performance S/N by Dumb Type (1994). Photograph by Yoko Takatani, design by Zhile Xie

In conjunction with the event “LIFE WITH VIRUS”: Teiji Furuhashi in New York on April 30 (8pm EST), Visual AIDS and Normal Screen host a special streaming presentation of Dumb Type’s 1994 performance S/N from April 26 to May 9, 2021.

Please register here to receive the private screening link.


Founded in 1984 by fifteen art students working in Kyoto, Dumb Type’s experimental theater projects combine dance and performance with ambitious multimedia installations. Teiji Furuhashi (1960–1995), a central figure in the group, came out as HIV positive to his collaborators in 1992, prompting the collective to produce a major performance piece responding to the AIDS crisis. The resulting work, S/N, used the notion of a “signal to noise” ratio as a structuring metaphor, challenging Japan’s silence about AIDS with explicit discussion of gay identity, stigma, sex work, and border politics.

Incorporating a two-level set, elaborate choreography, live video, and projection, the performance was critically acclaimed and toured to more than twenty cities around the world. Though Dumb Type hoped to perform S/N in New York, only one venue in Seattle was willing to present the piece in the United States. This is the first time that documentation of the performance has been presented online.

This online screening is part of our International Curatorial Residency with Japanese curator Sho Akita, which culminates with an online conversation about the work and activism of Japanese artist Teiji Furuhashi (1960–1995), a founding member of Dumb Type and an outspoken AIDS activist in Japan. Participants include the renowned artist and sex worker advocate Bubu de la Madeleine, composer Toru Yamanaka (aka DJ Lala), and the curator Barbara London, who acquired Furuhashi’s work for the Museum of Modern Art. Moderated by Sho Akita.

Visual AIDS’ curatorial residency was developed in partnership with Residency Unlimited and is supported in part by a grant from the Japan Foundation, New York. Visual AIDS thanks Dumb Type and Normal Screen for making this project possible.

Teiji Furuhashi photo Tony Fong

Teiji Furuhashi