Safety Picture Collection (25 minutes, 2014)

A found footage collection of 26 AIDS adverts. Freud uncovered the mysterious connection between language and bodies at the same moment that moving pictures provided new behavior modellings. How do pictures change desire, or the behaviours of desire? This question carried extra weight after the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, as movie makers struggled to find combinations of pictures that might help create the conditions for safer sex.

On some mornings it can hard to read words like “AIDS” or “HIV” and then see anything that follows. The words are like flash grenades, they blind everything around them. But also: there have been too many headlines and too many funerals. Some words suffer from overexposure, like a friend who has come too long to visit, and then you can’t see them anymore, they become so familiar that you can’t bring them into focus.

During the past three decades organizations large and small have tried to find a way to deal with this new form of invisibility. Fantastical inventions, formal re-workings and humour have been liberally applied to the ongoing plague. Of course, it isn’t enough, but I pulled this collection together in hopes of continuing to get the word out. What combination of pictures could turn AIDS into a question that can be heard again? If I were a TV channel, these would be my top twenty-six spots, an alphabet of response.