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Visualizing AIDS: re-codify the body to re-codify society

Grando, Ilaria (2018) Visualizing AIDS: re-codify the body to re-codify society. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Scientifically analysed, photographically exploited, artistically dematerialized, the body of the 1980s and 1990s AIDS epidemic continues to influence the contemporary perception of healthy and ill physicalities. Moving from the identification of a presence in absence dialectic, made of bodies physically absent, and yet still present in the works produced during the crisis, the project explores how the disease has been represented by gay male artists. Written in the first person, the thesis looks at AIDS educational materials, photographs, choreography, and installations under a Lacanian perspective. Dealing with a shattered temporality, the text re-performs the bodies of the crisis as they appear in the Lacanian Mirror of postmodernity, discussing their present and past impact. Structured in four chapters, the dissertation follows my journey through the Mirror, retracing the fragmentation of a body and of a temporality that is in fact uncatchable. The first chapter sets the issues arising from a scholarly reading of the crisis, defining the chronology of the epidemic. Using photographs, drawings, and educational materials, I trace a timeline of the homoerotic body of desire as it appears in the “pre” and the “post-AIDS” reality. The chapter introduces the concept of "Aesthetic of Illness," theorizing its double nature. In chapter two, I analyse the photo-biographies of Arnie Zane, Tom Bianchi, Samuel Wagstaff, and Albert J. Winn, and Richard Sawdon-Smith, reflecting on the ideas of the visible and invisible, and on the patient/doctor relationship. The third chapter marks the beginning of my journey across the Mirror: the text focuses on the choreographic work of Neil Greenberg and Bill T. Jones, presenting the reader with a reflection on death. Finally, the last chapter addresses the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres going back to the body to answer the question that has accompanied the reader throughout the thesis: "What Am I Looking At?"

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: Miss Ilaria Grando
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 11:07
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 11:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22681

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