Del LaGrace Volcano, still from Pansexual Public Porn, 1997.
The camera serves as a primary source of visual information. Moving image offers new ways to see sickness as a communal experience that confounds a medical gaze focused exclusively on the construction of ‘hot spots’ and ‘superspreaders’.
Join us for a screening of Del LaGrace Volcano’s 1997 film Pansexual Public Porn and an interview from Marc Thompson youtube series The Undetectables, which document queer life in the time of HIV/AIDS. By juxtaposing two vastly different approaches – one of underground desire and another of advocacy and ‘raising awareness’ – we want to underscore how and to what end discourses about illness are mobilised in the public arena. Pansexual Public Porn sees Volcano and their friend Hans ‘include [themselves] in the pursuit of pleasure as well as in the means of production’, two self-described ‘tranny boys’ cruising the Heath one summer. The dialogue between Thompson and young gay man Sadiq Ali captures both men exploring living with HIV across a generational divide. Thompson’s interview similarly resists the puritanical self-regulatory practices required to be a ‘good’ sick person. ‘I go out, I party, I have fun.’
Sick doesn’t just mean those who are ill. Sick also means abnormal, perverted, unnatural. Volcano and Thompson’s films show how people with already-pathologised bodies and practices – trans, Black, sexually ‘perverted’ – negotiate pleasure, sex, shame and selfhood beyond the yardstick of what institutional medicine or normative society deems ‘healthy’.
The screening will be accompanied by a short interview with both contributors.
Del LaGrace Volcano is a photographic visual artist producing work that seeks to disrupt and trouble socio-cultural binaries using visceral pleasure and political provocation as a primary strategies of resistance. Volcano was born intersex but assigned and raised female from birth, living the first 37 years of their life as female. They have been living as non-binary and openly intersex since 1995. Del earned an MA in Photographic Studies at University of Derby, UK in 1992 after studying photography at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1979 – 81 and Volcano has produced five photographic monographs, from LoveBites in 1991 to The Drag King Book in 1999 with Jack Halberstam to Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities in 2008 with Ulrika Dahl.
Marc Thompson is an activist, health policy and advocacy specialist, mentor, and podcaster. He is the co-director of The Love Tank CIC, a not-for-profit community-interest group which promotes the health and wellbeing of under-served communities through education, capacity building and research. His work has focused on Black and queer communities, sexual health and HIV. He is particularly interested in the intersection of race, sexuality and HIV. Thompson is the co-founder of Prepster.info a community based intervention that aims to educate and agitate for PrEP access in England and beyond. He is the co-founder of Blackout UK, a movement dedicated to working with and building safe spaces for black gay men. Working with writer Jason Okundaye, Marc recently launched ‘Black & Gay, Back in the Day’, an online digital archive celebrating Black LGBTQ+ life in the UK over the last 70 years.