New School News

Loss and Learning: World AIDS Day at The New School

Masks created by students and staff of the Stuyvesant Park Residence Hall commemorate 30 years of HIV/AIDS.

When the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first identified in 1981, many of the first cases were reported in our Greenwich Village neighborhood. St. Vincent’s Hospital opened one of the world’s first HIV/AIDS treatment centers nearby, and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis started as a phone tree in Larry Kramer’s apartment a few blocks uptown. As a center of progressive social action, The New School was eager to join with the neighborhood to fight the disease. In the decades since, the battle against AIDS has made great progress: Rates of HIV transmission in many populations have been dramatically lowered, and management and treatment for those living with HIV and AIDS has improved. Still, the quest to eradicate the disease worldwide continues.

In observance of 30 years of HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day (December 1), The New School hosts a series of programs exploring the history and future of the disease in discussion, art, and literature. World AIDS Day is an occasion to honor those we have lost and to renew our commitment to end the pandemic,, said New School health educator Tamara Oyola Santiago, who helped plan the events.

On Saturday, December 3, some of the world’s foremost AIDS activists will present at a daylong symposium, Transmissions: The Literature of AIDS., Organized by the New School Writing Program and the publishing collective Mischief and Mayhem, the symposium is moderated by Dale Peck, a Writing Program faculty member and Mischief and Mayhem co-founder. Transmissions, features a discussion of works written between 1981 and 1995 with authors David France, Michael Denneny, Larry Kramer, Sarah Schulman, John Weir, and Edmund White. The period from 1996 to the present welcomes authors Rabih Alameddine, Gary Indiana, Zia Jaffrey, Amy Scholder, and Max Steele to The New School. The symposium also presents a screening of Dan Fishback’s thirtynothing and David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in the Belly, excerpts from the ACT UP Oral History Project, and selections from Visual AIDS’ Broadside series and Archive Project. The event, which takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, is free and open to the public.

Eugene Lang College’s Global Studies department, Student Health Services, and community partners Queerocracy and Housing Works have organized an exhibition and teach-in exploring the pandemic’s legacy. On Monday, November 28, at 7:30 p.m., in Student Health Services, 80 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor, an opening reception will be held for An Art Exhibition of Transformation, presenting work by artists whose life or work has been shaped by the AIDS pandemic. The exhibition will be on view November 29’December 7 at Student Health Services and December 8’19 in the Skybridge Art Space (66 West 12th Street, 4th floor passageway) and is free and open to the public.

The discussion continues on November 30 with HIV/AIDS Activism for the 2012 Presidential Elections and Beyond: A World AIDS Day Dialogue,, a teach-in examining political and social aspects of the HIV/AIDS crisis that may play a role in the 2012 presidential campaign. Moderated by Housing Works’ Johnny Guaylupo, the participatory discussion will include insights on housing from Jaron Benjamin (VOCAL-NY), on poverty-alleviating financial structures from Michael Tikli (Health Global Access Project), and on the global epidemic from Susanna Grannis (Children Affected by HIV/AIDS). This event, which takes place at 6:00 p.m., 66 West 12th Street, room 510, is free and open to the public.

For more information on these events, visit the student services and the university events calendars.

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