// Archive for November, 2006

David Wojnarowicz raser ut

”’If I had a dollar to spend for healthcare I’d rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS…’ says the healthcare official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour long video of people dying on camera because they can’t afford the limited drugs avaliable that might extend their lives and I can’t even remember what this official looked like because I reached in through the t.v. screen and ripped his face in half and I was diagnosed with Arc [AIDS related complex] recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country ”If you want to stop Aids shoot the queers…” says the governor of texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the governor was only joking and didn’t know that the microphone was turned on and besides they didn’t think it would hurt his chances for re-election anyways and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I’m carrying this rage like blood filled egg and there’s a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I’m waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in ’infected blood’ and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastika’s that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against Aids clinics in the nightly suburbs there’s a thin line a very thin line between the inside or the outside and I’ve been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples lips; the religious types outside st. patricks cathedral shouting to men and women in the gay parade: ”You won’t be here next year – you’ll get Aids and die ha ha…” and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an anti-violence bill that includes ’sexual orientation’ as a category of crime victims there’s a thin line a very thin line and as each T-cell disappears from my body it’s replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into non-violent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack america seems to understand and accept murder as a self defense against those who would murder other people and its been murder on a daily basis for eight count them eight long years and we’re expected to pay taxes to support this public and social murder and we’re expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder but I say there’s certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there’s religious leaders and healthcare officials that had better get bigger dogs and higher fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I’m a thirty seven foot tall one thousand one hundred and seventy-two pound man inside this six foot frame and all I can feel is the pressure all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release”

– Tekst fra David Wojnarowicz verk Untitled (Hujar Dead), 1988-89

Snuten lurer på om it is easy being gay?

Pass på med det! Ta pengene – ikke blodet!

Vi er ikke helt trygge, vi. Vi homoer. Vi menn som har sex med menn. Noen steder i samfunnet har de passet på at det advares mot oss. Mot oss litt skeive. Oss litt farlige. Se bare på Norges Røde Kors’ Blodprograms side www.giblod.no. Her er vi ikke en del av selskapet:

Vi kan altså ikke gi blod. Det er vel ikke så merkelig at en av samfunnets risikogrupper ikke kan gi blod. Vi får jo HIV og AIDS bare vi ser hardt på hverandre. Slapp av, det gjelder visst kun oss altså, ikke dere. Dere kan gi blod. Masser av blod. Og det trengs. For Norge mangler blod. Men pass på! For har du “gjort det” med en av oss er du med i vi’et for alltid. Sånn er regelen. Vi er virkelig mange slik. Så pass på, for hvis du ikke har “gjort det” med oss, har du kanskje bodd sammen med oss? Du skal nok passe deg. Vi kunne jo ha vært HIV smittet, ikke? NB: “Følgende personer skal i en periode avstå fra blodgivning:” Men kanskje har du ikke bodd sammen med oss. Hvem vet? Vet du? Du skal altså passe på. Ja, for bare å være venner med en av oss er farlig. Vi er levende infeksjonsbomber. Mer enn noen andre i samfunnet. Vi er kilder av bakterier og viruser. Hvor er varselstrekanten?
Men så er vi jo samtidig så pene. Så velholdte. Husk det. Vi bare elsker jo klær og utseende og sånn. Vi, altså. En stund var jo dere også litt med på kjøpet, men så ble jo metroen ut og retroen inn igjen. Vi er en kjøpesterk gruppe. Vi er milliardbuissness. Vi er ikke bare i pink, men vi er pink dollars!

Glem det der med blodet, for alt i alt er vi jo innbringende! I hvertfall for København kommune. De elsker oss jo, rett og slett:

København er wonderful. Ikke mindst for de homoseksuelle. Det signal forsøger Københavns Kommune, Wonderful Copenhagen, Copenhagen Gay Life og en del andre aktører at sælge til det såkaldte homosegment.

København har fundet ud af, at bøsser og lesbiske på mange måder er ganske vidunderlige turister. Alene i USA er deres rejsebudget på 55 milliarder dollar om året, også kaldet ’pink dollar’, som den danske hovedstad gerne vil have omsat til lyserøde kroner.

Dette stod det om oss i “København skal være en pink by” i Politiken sist fredag. Dere blir kanskje litt misunnelige over vår rikdom og kjøpekraft? Det forstår seg. Men kanskje er ikke vi oss allikevel. Kanskje er vi et litt guffent ord.

“We Will Not Protect You” skrev ACT UP/New York under Gay Parade i 2005. Ti tekster om oss, eller rettere, “oss”. Her er et forløsende utdrag:


It’s true that we have more queer “things” than ever before – from Will & Grace on network TV to Queer as Folk on Showtime; from the West Village to all-gay cruises to Gay Day at Disney World; from Queer Studies in colleges to our very own cigarette ads. The problem is, having all of these “things” hasn’t changed the way the world sees queers. We are still relegated to subhuman status in the minds of so many middle Americans and high level politicians. Need evidence? Look at the virulently homophobic elected officials who are in office right now because they promised the public that they would protect the “Sanctity” of Marriage from Gays and Lesbians.

Having “things” has only given us a false sense of safety from the very real dangers of having no claims to civil rights inside or outside of all of those bars, clubs, Gay Days, or gender theory classes. […]

We can buy a rainbow coffin but we can’t buy our way out of it because, when it comes down to it, being a target market will not protect you.

It never has. And it never will.

Masturbation Machine

Few homosexuals use their real names, they generally go by aliases choosing first names with a sexual connotation; Harry, Dick, Peter are the most favoured. One drops to his knees, the other unzips his pants and a few moments later it’s all over. No names, no faces, no emotions. A masturbarion machine might do it better.

Most homosexual find their man-to-man sex unfulfilling, so they masturbate a lot. Much of their masturbation centres around the anus. The question, of course, is what to use for a penis. The answer is often found in pantry. Some of the routine items which find their way into the gastrointestinal system of homosexuals via the exit are pens, pencils, lipsticks, pop bottles, ladies’ electric shavers and enough other items to stock a small department store.

– Doctor David R. Reuben Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, 1971

Frontier Medicine

The man in the chair in the blacked-out room is a homosexual. There is a projection screen before him. On it flashes a picture of a male model with a fine physique. Seconds later, as the photograph lingers on the screen, an electric shock races through the body of the watcher. As the sensation passes, the picture of the male is replaced by the image of an attractive woman. The sequence is repeated again and again and again. The image of the man is thus linked with displeasure and that of the female with pleasure. This is a brief summary of a form of treatment for homosexuality known as aversion therapy. In a way it is frontier medicine.

– “The Men Apart” Evening Chronichle, 1965


[Hagiografi: fra gresk hagios og grafein, «å skrive om hellige» betegner studiet av helgener, med fokus på enkeltpersoner.]

So let me make it official. I may not have worshiped Foucault at the time I wrote One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, but I do worship him now. As far as I’m concerned, the guy was a fucking saint.

Not that I imagine Foucault to have led either a sexually or a morally perfect life. In fact, I know almost nothing about his life beyond what I’ve read in three recent biographies […] I never met Foucault myself. I never even laid my eyes on him. My relation to him is indirect and secondary: like my relation to virtually every other great writer, ancient or modern, that I have ever studied, it is entirely mediated, imaginary, and – why bother to deny it? – hagiographical. (s.6)

– David M. Halperin Saint Foucault – Towards a Gay Hagiography.

Halperins beskrivelse av den hagiografiske forskeren er ytterst presis. Man sitter der og skriver om fantastiske og overskridende kunstverk med disse uungåelig medierte, fantasmatiske og imaginære bildene av kunstneren i hodet. Hvordan kan man unngå at glorien begynner å lyse over bildet? Jeg sier det som Halperin “As far as I’m concerned, Felix Gonzalez-Torres was a fucking saint!”

Return of the Real

Dagens rapport 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update fra UNAIDS – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS – er nedslående. Her er et utdrag fra pressemeldingen:

According to the latest figures published today in the UNAIDS/WHO 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update, an estimated 39.5 million people are living with HIV. There were 4.3 million new infections in 2006 with 2.8 million (65%) of these occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and important increases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where there are some indications that infection rates have risen by more than 50% since 2004. In 2006, 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

Illustrasjonen er fra den 90 sider lange rapporten som kom i dag – det er viktig og deprimerende lesning.

Roskilde Festivalen er ikke over!

Nå er det igjen grunn til å reise til Roskilde! Christian Yde Frostholms installasjon Turbo på ordet kjører på Roskilde Universitetsbibliotek i to uker! Det er så flott så flott. Flere bilder her!

Se her Sune Nordgren! Kanskje noen elsker deg?

An Archive of Feelings

Det er fire og tyve år siden AIDS fikk navnet AIDS. Selve termen AIDS er dermed ett år eldre enn meg. Det er ikke så altfor lenge siden jeg fant ut hvilke ord som egentlig gjemte seg bak akronmyet AIDS, ei heller siden jeg fikk kjennskap til den fantastiske aktivistiske kampen mot AIDS i bl.a. USA og de amerikanske myndigheters neglisjering av epidemien i dens første tiår. For dem som kanskje fortsatt ikke kjenner til historien, tok det tid før definisjonen falt på plass. Etter å ha gått under betegnelser som “gay plague” i amerikanske medier, og GRID – Gay Related Immuno Deficiency blant leger, falt man ned på HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) og AIDS (Aquired Immune Defiecency Syndrome). AIDS er med andre ord ikke et virus, men et syndrom. En viktig distinksjon.

AIDS er jo langt fra over, selv om mye har forandret seg siden 1980-tallet. Den representasjonelle boomen rundt AIDS mot slutten av 1980- og begynnelsen av 1990-tallet er derimot passé. Historien har mistet sin nyhetsverdi, spesielt ettersom det ikke lenger er i Hollywood eller på Manhattan problemene er størst, men snarere i land som ikke har den samme interesse i Vesten.

Historieskrivingen om AIDS aktivismen i USA på 1980-90-tallet har begynner å vokse, og det er en viktig og mangefassettert historie. En av de bøkene jeg nå nettopp har lest er Ann Cvetkovichs An Archive of Feelings. Boken kretser rundt forholdet mellom representasjon og traumer, med vekt på incest, butch-femme binarismen og AIDS. Det er derimot et uventet perspektiv vi her møter, ettersom historien om AIDS aktivismen er sett fra de lesbiskes deltagelse i den innflytelsesrike aktivistgruppen ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) – med fokus på gruppens New York avdeling. Cvetkovich har intervjuet en rekke lesbiske kvinner i ACT UP/New York som stod i gruppens frontlinje i kampen mot AIDS, (og mange av dem er fortsatt aktive i AIDS aktivisme og arbeid). Cvetkovich retter fokuset mot kvinnene som kjempet mot AIDS og som har blitt utelatt fra den foreløpige historieskrivingen, som hun skriver: ”watching ACT UP’s history become prone to disappearance and misrepresentation has made me wonder about how other activisms have been (mis)represented.”

I intervjuene med de lesbiske aktivistene som deltok og stod sentralt i ACT UPs demonstrasjoner, gateteater, intervensjoner og møter, trer nye aspekter ved AIDS aktivismen frem. Hennes ambisiøse mål med prosjektet beskriver hun som følger:

My goals has been to use interviews to create political history as activist history, a history that captures activism’s felt and even traumatic dimensions. In forging a collective knowledge built on memory, I hope to produce not only a version of history but also an archive of the emotions, which is one of trauma’s most important, but most difficult to preserve, legacies.

Det er derfor en anderledes historiefortelling man møter her. En historiefortelling som viser utfordringene med å skrive “gay and lesbian history”:

Lesbian and gay history demands a radical archive of emotion in order to document intimacy, sexuality, love, and activism – all area of experience that are difficult to chronicle through the materials of traditional archives. Furthermore, gay and lesbian archives adress the traumatic loss of history that has accompanied sexual life and the formation of sexual publics, and they assert the role of memory and affect in compensating for institutional neglect.

Cvetkovichs bok er et interessant og godt eksempel på hvordan den personlige muntlige fortellertradisjonen kan taes opp i “queer etnography” og skape nye viktige perspektiver på historiefortelling og historiekonservering.

Intervjuene med de fantatsiske kvinnene i AIDS-aktivismen er både morsomme, vonde og lærerike. De minner en om at ens teoretiske forestillinger om aktivisme ofte skiller seg fra erfaringen med aktivisme i virkeligheten, som Kim Christensen uttaler: ”It’s funny because people think movements happen when there is despair, but they don’t happen when there’s despair, they happen when there’s hope.”

Heidi Dorow peker blant annet på hvordan AIDS aktivismen representerte muligheter som var unike:

The thing I began to think over time, in ACT UP, was that this dying thing that people were doing was an opportunity. It was an opportunity to be intimate with people, as someone who had a lot of obstacles or barriers to be intimate and not a lot of skills to do it. This race to death, to fight off death, or to stop death, was an opportunity to be intimate with people, to share with people, to talk to people, to be close to them in a way that was humanly possible in my small world, but never going to be humanly possible in a regular world.

Kunstneren Jean Carlomusto påpeker at det er viktig at ACT UP’s visuelle historie blir formidlet i en ordentlig form, og bekymrer seg over at deres visuelle materiale blir ”used as wallpaper. Whenever you want to talk about activism, just throw in some protest footage, even if it’s not about the action you’re referring to.” Hun har et godt poeng. Ser man på kunsthistorien er det nettopp slik AIDS aktivismen blir portrettert. En illustrasjon av en ACT UP plakat her og der, uten noen form for nyansering eller historisk kontekstualisering av deres visuelle materiale. En nyansert historiefortelling om AIDS aktivismen også fra et kunsthistorisk perspektiv er derfor viktig.

Cvetkovich dokumenterer mange morsomme anekdoter fra AIDS aktivismen, som viser det unike med nettopp denne bevegelsen som bar preget av gruppens ekstremt heterogene sammensetning. En gruppe der sivil ulydighet var en viktig og fruktbar strategi i kampen mot AIDS. Les bare denne anekdoten fra aktivisten Maria Maggenti:

”We went through these photos and we started laughing so hard. Half the people are dead, unfortunately. That’s the sad part. But little details, like – this is just a classic. We were in a paddy wagon. We had been arrested. We were on our way to jail, and David Falcone decides to give himself a manicure. He whips out the little manicure thing, starts clipping his nails, fixing everything. I think he even had a hair tweezer for the nose. And David Gipp, who is very upright and Dutch, is in absolute shock at what he is seeing. And David Falcone says, ”Well, we have a little while before we get to jail, so let’s get some personal hygiene taken care of.” You could only have that kind of moment when you have a totally free group where any freak of the street can just walk in and say, ”I want to fight AIDS.” Its so brilliant.”