Contemporary Conversation: Global Intimacies

Headshots of Aimar Arriola, Malik Gaines, and Laura Guy are merged together on yellow hued backdrop.
Image courtesy of Aimar Arriola, Malik Gaines, and Laura Guy.


What counter-narratives and global, queer visual cultures have yet to be told in the context of HIV/AIDS?

This contemporary conversation centres around debates on performance, documentary image and critical practice that open up counter-narratives to better known histories of HIV/AIDS activism. It places HIV/AIDS activism in dialogue with lesbian, trans, and globalised subjectivities, exploring how south-to-south imaginaries, performance and visual arts might help rethink archives relating to the ongoing epidemic. In a move towards decolonising AIDS-related histories that centre white, cis male, urban, US-based gay men during the 1980s and 1990s, this conversation reimagines the role of documentation and archiving as part of a larger project of queer temporalities and utopian horizons. By expanding on how exhibition-making and curatorial knowledge is part of a research practice and expanded mode of academic inquiry, it explores issues of care and consent as well as the role of the curator and the academic in consolidating cultural value around queer community labour.

This dialogue also attends to the present way in which the HIV/AIDS crisis has been imagined in relation to COVID-19, addressing whether and how medicine has learned from grass roots activism and knowledge developed around the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The series Contemporary Conversations looks at how art is positioned to the present. Acknowledging artists’ roles in working with its passage, pressing and transforming it, this series of evening dialogues explores the present tense in its cultural and political dimensions, visual cultures and postcolonial debates.

About the event

Online. Free. Live Stream.
You can access this event through this webpage and on the Nottingham Contemporary YouTube channel.
There will be automated live captioning for this event.
A transcription will be available for download on this webpage afterwards.
We are unable to provide British Sign Language interpretation for this event.
A recording of the event will be available afterwards.
The duration of the event is two hours. A rest break is not included.

Aimar Arriola works as a curator, editor, and researcher. Currently, he is the inaugural Research Associate (2020-2022) at Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao where he is doing research and public programming on the notion of ‘queer form.’ A graduate from MACBA's Independent Studies Programme, Barcelona, Aimar holds a PhD in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London and has been a research resident at Reina Sofía, Madrid, Visual AIDS, NY, and X Central American Biennial. He was a nominee for the 2012 ICI New York Independent Vision Curatorial Award. Since then, Aimar has organised exhibitions and events in MACBA, The Showroom in London, and Tabakalera in San Sebastián, among others. As a member of the collective ‘Equipo re’, from 2012 to 2018, Aimar developed the long-term, AIDS-revisitation project AIDS Anarchive. He is co-editor of The Against Nature Journal, a publication and events programme initiated by Council, Paris, that explore the concept of laws ‘against nature.’

Malik Gaines is an artist and writer based in New York. He is the author of Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (NYU Press, 2017) and many articles and essays about art and performance. He performs and shows work in collaborations including the group My Barbarian, which will present a survey of its work at the Whitney Museum, New York, in 2021. Gaines is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Laura Guy is a writer, editor and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland. She is a Research Excellence Academic Fellow in Art History at Newcastle University having previously held teaching positions in Critical Studies for Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London. She was the 2019/20 Honorary Fellow in Contemporary Art Theory and Curating at the University of Edinburgh. Her research on feminist and queer visual culture has appeared in various magazines and journals, most recently Aperture, Women: A Cultural Review and Third Text. Over the past decade Guy has published interviews and essays focusing on artists working with moving image and photography and has collaborated with individuals, community groups and cultural institutions to profile the work of photographers who documented queer lesbian community in the US and UK between the 1970s and 1990s. She is currently working on a monograph on this subject. She is editor of Phyllis Christopher: Dark Room, forthcoming from Bookworks, and curator of an accompanying exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2021. With Glyn Davis, she is Co-editor of Queer Print in Europe, a collection of essays, forthcoming from Bloomsbury.

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