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"When Did You Figure Out You Had AIDS?": Pato Hebert

July 9, 2013

Pato Hebert

"When you exhale me," installation, 2013, Pato Hebert

As part of our series NOT OVER, Visual AIDS asked Pato Hebert, an artist in the La MaMa exhibition, three questions about the ongoing AIDS crisis. The first question is taken directly from artist Vincent Chevalier’s work, “So…when did you figure out you had AIDS?”, 2010. It is left to the artist to decipher the meaning of the question, to decide if it a question about their status, how AIDS functions in the world, or both. Overall, the goal of the questions is to get at the complexity of HIV/AIDS—understanding it as a virus in people’s bodies, an assemblage that has changed the world, and as an every-evolving phenomenon.

When did you figure out you had AIDS?

The phrasing of this question reminds me of one of my lovers in the 90s who was living with HIV and told me, "AIDS isn't going to own me. I'm gonna own my HIV."

What does NOT OVER mean to you?

The disproportionate impact of AIDS on communities of color, queer people, sex workers and folks who inject drugs. Stigma and discrimination are not over. But neither are the power of our imaginations and the viability of our shared efforts.

What is AIDS in 25 years?

Nobody knows. But let's see what we collectively decide to do about belonging, justice and our access to health care for everyone.

The interviews will be collected on our Tumblr site: NOT OVER INTERVIEWS.

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