After/ing ACT UP: Forthcoming


Contributing to my understanding of “crisis” in my doctoral project about “post-AIDS” gay male culture(s), I’ve had an essay accepted for journal publication, tentatively titled “After/ing ACT UP: Viral Hauntology in Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats per Minute“. In this paper, I explore the relationship between representations of AIDS activism and “crisis-oriented” cultural production, calling upon Kane Race (2001, 2009) and Dion Kagan (2015, 2018) to describe and analyse the re-production of crisis as post-crisis for contemporary viewers. I ask: how might the revisioning of AIDS histories perpetuate the cultural production of crisis narration? By looking at what images of the histories of science are recycled and dramatised, I argue that 120 BPM recreates the AIDS past, using specific technical advances in both Western medicine and cinematography, to wager that the less-viral future exists just outside of the narrative’s frame. I stay with technical production (both medical and cinematic) in order to deepen our understanding of the nature of “crisis” in contemporary society; and ultimately, the paper extends recent thinking about “AIDS crisis revisitation” in order to understand how/why these re-visitations might be used to understand gay and lesbian negotiations of safer-sex initiatives.

See: 120 Beats per Minute. (2017). Dir. Robin Campillo. Paris: Les Films de Pierre.

– Kagan, D. (2015). “Re-Crisis”: Barebacking, Sex Panic, and the Logic of Epidemic. Sexualities 18(7), pp. 817-837.
– Kagan, D. (2018). Positive Images: Gay Men and HIV/AIDS in the Culture of “Post Crisis”. London: I.B. Tauris.
– Race, K. (2001). The Undetectable Crisis: Changing Technologies of Risk. Sexualities 4(2), pp. 167-189.
– Race, K. (2009). Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The Queer Politics of Drugs. Durham: Duke University Press.