AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: “Do you resent people with AIDS? Do you trust HIV- negatives? Have you given up hope for a cure?” The conversation leading to that work was largely driven by Mark Simpson. We were grappling with a problem we had at that later stage—trying to put very complex things into a very concise text. This work was a response to our frustration at being unable to articulate the complexity of the issues. We decided to just go bare bones and say how we felt, which had never been our primary focus.
TK: I remember that Mark always had a yellow legal pad in his house on which he wrote all sorts of things. And those questions were among the things he wrote. They were about feeling alienated as someone living with AIDS and about feeling less well physically. That, and the fact that the visibility of the crisis and the AIDS activist demonstrations had faded away.
AF: Up to this point, the only emotion we had directly articulated was anger. But it’s funny that you should even mention this work, Douglas, because, unlike a lot of the other things we did, there was no response at all to that piece.
LM: Well, we were addressing a different audience. It was really directed toward our own community. We were trying to acknowledge something but not judge it, to ask, “What’s happening now? Where did our anger go? What are we going to do?”