Krannert Art Museum to mark World AIDS Day with films

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Krannert Art Museum in December will screen seven short films commissioned for Visual AIDS’ Day With(out) Art to commemorate World AIDS Day, including “I Remember Dancing” by Nguyen Tan Hoang. For the first time, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts will also screen the films on Dec.2. (Photo courtesy the artist through the UIUC news office)

CHAMPAIGN — The Krannert Art Museum at University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign will mark World AIDS day with a showing of seven short films on activism and the impact of the epidemic.

The UIUC news office said that this was the third year the museum offered a film program for the event. The office said that in past years, the Krannert screened the films over the course of two days. This year, the films will be on a loop in the collections study area in the lower level of the museum from Dec. 2 through 23.

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts will also be screening the films in its lobby from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Stage 5.

“Krannert Center is honored to have been invited to partner with our colleagues at Krannert Art Museum to lift up the artistry of these filmmakers and share their powerful narratives, which helps to broaden the discourse around this important issue,” said Mike Ross, the director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The UI news office said the program was commissioned by New York-based arts organization Visual AIDS. This year’s theme for the film program is STILL BEGINNING, taken from work by artist, AIDS activist and School of the Art Institute of Chicago professor Gregg Bordowitz. The seven new videos commissioned by Visual AIDS emphasize the persistent presence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“The video program resists narratives of resolution or conclusion, considering the continued urgency of HIV/AIDS in the contemporary moment while revisiting resonant cultural histories from the past three decades,” according to the Visual AIDS website.

A University of Illinois doctoral student in anthropology, Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza, is featured in one of the films. “I Remember Dancing,” by filmmaker and film and media scholar Nguyen Tan Hoang, is an intergenerational conversation in which gay, queer and transgender Asian men discuss HIV and AIDS and share stories of love, desire and loss.

In the film, Atienza talks about his fears growing up that he would die young from AIDS and also about his decision to take an HIV-prevention drug. In his film submission, he mimicked a stereotypical gay dating app profile, with only his torso visible as he speaks.

The other films and filmmakers are:

“Much Handled Things Are Always Soft,” by multimedia artist Derrick Woods-Morrow, chronicles the cruising culture in 1970s Chicago, when men would cruise public places, particularly parks, looking for companionship and sex.

“Beat Goes On,” by documentary producer and archival researcher Shanti Avirgan, is a video portrait of AIDS activist Keith Cylar, who co-founded Housing Works, an organization providing housing for people living with HIV.

“The Lie,” by activist and experimental filmmaker Carl George, is a video poem describing his disenchantment with the American Dream and finding links between war, poverty, AIDS and capitalism.

“Chloe Dzubilo: There is a Transolution,” by artist Viva Ruiz, profiles musician and activist Chloe Dzubilo, who educated health care workers about the needs of trans women and sex workers. The film includes never-before-seen footage of Dzubilo filmed in the 1990s.

“(eye, virus),” by visual artists Jack Waters and Victor F.M. Torres, is an experimental video collage of information about HIV and risk-reduction strategies, looking at how conversations shift across generations and between public and private realms.

“I’m Still Me,” by filmmaker Iman Shervington, tells the story of Sian Green, a mother living with HIV who is trying to build an online community to share experiences of stigma and fear with other women in Louisiana, where black women are disproportionately impacted by HIV.

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