We are proud and excited to launch "The Body As An Archive," an Oral History Project that pairs artist members from across the globe for intimate recorded conversations. All participating artists are represented in the Visual AIDS Archive. The project prioritizes facilitating intergenerational conversations while specifically uplifting the voices of demographics that have been historically underrepresented within dominant narratives of HIV/AIDS movements.

Go to to watch the first two recordings featuring Shirlene Cooper, Lucas Michael, Jorge Bordello, and Beto Pérez.

The title of the project was coined by Katherine "Kat" Cheairs in the summer of 2020 during a committee meeting held to address collection gaps in the Visual AIDS Archive, particularly regarding BIPOC artist members. We recognize that cultural legacies of communities most affected by AIDS are particularly vulnerable, not only because of the systemic racism and classism of the art world, but also because these legacies are often embodied in oral traditions, community spaces, performance, and other non-material forms. In order to address the gaps in our collection, we have decided to expand our current archival practice, which centers on photo documentation of physical artworks, to also preserve oral histories.

Begun with a grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2020, the current scope of the project includes 24 HIV-positive artists. We are thrilled to launch the project with two recordings: an intimate conversation between artist Lucas Michael and artist / activist Shirlene Cooper recorded in New York City, and a collaborative video work by artists Jorge Bordello and Beto Pérez recorded in Mexico (Spanish audio with English captions). We will be updating this extension of the archive each month with new oral history recordings.

A full list of participating artists is below:

Launching today:

Shirlene Cooper + Lucas Michael
Jorge Bordello + Beto Pérez

Coming Soon:

Curtis Carman + Milton Garcia Ninja
José Luis Cortés + Eric Rhein
Joe De Hoyos + Alexander Hernandez
Sunil Gupta + Carlos Gutierrez-Solana
Cea (Constantine Jones) + Nancer LeMoins
Glammy Rose Spencer + River Huston
Kairon Liu + Marguerite Van Cook
Mike Moreno + Joey Terrill
Reverend Joyce McDonald + Rafael Sánchez
Luna Luis Ortiz + Anthony Rosado