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The Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Art (CIRCA) in London commissions new ideas from emerging and established artists.

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AA Bronson + General Idea: Meet Me At Night

Written by Kostas Stasinopoulos

AA Bronson, The Mirror Sequence (CIRCA 1969-70)

This December, CIRCA commemorates the 40th anniversary of AIDS first being clinically recorded with this new commission titled VideoVirus by AA Bronson and General Idea. A reimagining of the historic Imagevirus for a global audience, the iconic artwork comes to life in a hypnotic video animation that virally transmits their activist message around the globe.

From Imagevirus’ original intention of rendering visible an ignored crisis, today’s VideoVirus colourfully heralds our progress toward the eradication of AIDS, with CIRCA’s global presentation amplifying the commitment by international health organisations to achieve zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.

Here I am. Can you see me?

An existence so deep, it can’t map itself. White foam on top of dark waves. Here, I am. Can you see me? Across the ocean I precipitate.

I travel as an image, I spread like an idea. On the streets, on the side of a bus, in bright lights, around dinner tables, underground, in intoxicating darkness, in public and in private. In spaces where I don’t belong, where I shouldn’t be, but I must; to survive, to thrive. To justify my rights to my own existence.

Meet me downtown, inside a time capsule. Our meetings are always queer. Meet me at night, downstairs, where you can smell me. Outside the lights and stars shine. Widen your iris, take them in. Let me in. I need to trespass.

Let me dissolve and multiply. I have messages.

With every repetition, I matter. Like the words you spew at me. Like the same goddamn energy I use to repurpose them and throw them back at you. Every time.
I’ve learnt how to do this very well by now.

HIV captured with cry-electron microscope © Wellcome Trust

I sweat, as I roll them in my mouth. As I bite them and crack them open.
The way that I feel you gives me fever.

My guard is up, I become resistant. Body armour and thorn-like softness. Learn my surface. Touch the spindle. Let me drop on your dry soil. Dandelions will emerge and disperse.
Pierced skin and wild hearts.

Protect your mouth, your nostrils, your eyes. Listen to me laugh as I swim in your moat.

I revisit the past, always, myself at my most provocative and high-risk. Those moments of tension are so vital. They pulse, they open me up. With every repetition, I stomp like the beat in the basement. I become part of a series, a crowd, a generation, a monoculture planted on top of a battlefield. A sea of words, an army, a wave made of bodies. We rave together. We grow and change, together.

Into the abyss we go.

It’s dark and soft and moist. Are you here with me? I can’t see you. I can do this alone, or with you. I
never want to stop bleeding. A delirious overspill in the millions. Sticky, transfused and airborne.

 

Public Art Fund, Spectacolor Lightboard, Judite Dos Santos (CIRCA 1989)

 

You’re in my ear. I learn new words. I repeat them. I swallow them. I let them explore my body.
Undetectable, they change me.

I dance, I sing, I kiss, all night, like a dilated vein pumping blood furiously. Like an inflammation that will make your cheeks red and your mouth to give me that smile that I’ve been waiting for.

I am sea, I am sky, I am image.
Dangerous and explicit. A fissure between knowing and being.

Come out for air with me. Come in the millions. A formulaic excess under my radar.

What words live in your blood? Do they travel up your stream? Do they stop at your throat?

Right here, right now.
The sky is breaking. Alive.

 

AA Bronson Felix Partz, June 5, 1994

Hold me tight. Too close.
and let me infect you with what matters
To me.
To us, to every one of us that you couldn’t see.

 

With what feels good,
what we live for and what I can die for.

Everything everywhere is always moving forever.

 

Say it. Say it with me.

AIDS.
LOVE.

Zero
and every

thing.

 


Kostas Stasinopoulos is a curator and art historian. He is Associate Curator, Live Programmes at Serpentine Galleries, London, working across the institution’s interdisciplinary programme, Back to Earth and the General Ecology project.