at GALLERY SURGE, Kanda Tokyo

Installation by
Visual AIDS TOKYO Installation Staff (=VATIS)
(TAZAKI Hideaki, TANIKAWA Mari, MORI Daishiro, ARAI Shin-ichi, SAEGUSA Yukio)

[special programs 18:30−19:30]
Mar.26 performance; Mari TANIKAWA
Mar.27 group performance; The force of job Site (ARAI, SAEGUSA)
Mar.28&30 workshop; "discourse analysis of AIDS"
Mar.29 symposium; "AIDS activism in Japan" M.NEGISHI, T.MINAMI, H.SUNAGAWA, J.TERAGUCHI, H.TAZAKI
Mar.31 video showing

Catalogue Summary

This catalogue is not representation of cultural activism and our exhibition. It is presentation of AIDS activism, or itself an example of activism. So it doesn't imply any illustration nor explanation of the exhibition at Gallery Surge. It might be a counter-discourse against the discourse formation of Japan.
(of course this is the web version of it)

Testimony: AIDS, its situation
Interview with ISHIDA Yoshiaki / Letters from Kyoto
-About the situation of the people with HIV in Japan including you.
It is supposed that about 40% of the 5000 hemophiles in Japan were infected by the imported blood products 10 years ago. In recent years some of the people with HIV-infection by the blood products have developed AIDS. In a general policy speech the prime minister Miyazawa says to make Japan a great country in terms of living. He talks about neither AIDS nor HIV, although the dead of AIDS in Japan reaches 145 according to the official statistics. Mass media makes an image of people with HIV as "Alien." Only grassroots movement could change it.
-About "Living with AIDS"
I have lived with hemophilia all through my life. I know what the disease is. HIV still remains something unknown for me, so I don't feel to live with HIV, but to struggle with it. When we can make HIV to be controlled, I will feel, then, to live with HIV. When I hear the expression such as "To exterminate AIDS," I am frightened and tremble.
-AIDS is the disease concerning your identity.
The hemophilia was all for me. I happened to be born as human being with hemophilia. That was all of my world, but HIV fell on me suddenly. Besides hemophilia as inheritance, HIV infection discrimination. That was very hard. I thought, "I'll take this role, I'll fight again." Thus I have established my identity.
(Interviewed by KOREHISA Katsuko)

Remember Their Names
NISHIURA Urara / Memorial Quilt Japan
In the United States in 1987, people who had lost friends to AIDS began to make quilts celebrating their friends' lives, a project which eventually became the Memorial Quilt. Panels of cloth three feet wide by six feet long were decorated with the names, clothing, pictures, or special mementos of their friends. The panels did not just express anger at the terrible prejudice and discrimination that surrounded the disease, but showed in a personal way that those who had died were very much missed. The Memorial Quilt became a kind of celebration of the lives that had been lost, and at the same time, became a reminder to many Americans who had thought of AIDS as something that could only happen to "other people" that thousands of lives were touched by AIDS. This movement began in Japan in 1990, and we now have quilts representing four people who died of HIV-related causes and one quilt for all Japanese with HIV or AIDS. Japanese quilts are put together without explicit reference to an individual: this reflects the current state of silence and isolation which characterizes AIDS in this country. We who are involved in this movement hope that displaying these five quilts in various places around Japan will foster greater interest in and understanding of AIDS, and that these conditions will change.

Mass Media and "AIDS"
SUNAGAWA Hideki / Japan Institute for People with HIV
The image of "AIDS" presented to us by the mass media is one of death, isolation, and fear. In Japan, HIV disease is unequivocally linked with AIDS, and with death. This is largely because the media, in their frantic efforts to create and report on an "AIDS panic," have never made any attempt to disseminate correct information that might lead to understanding of HIV and compassion for those living with the disease. The very idea of actually "living with HIV" has only been belittled by the media. People eager for facts about HIV are easily drawn into the general feel ing of panic, and it is this panic that feeds prejudice and discrimination. 84 The human rights of people with HIV and AIDS are sacrificed to some vague idea of "preservation of public health," demonstrated by the government's current policies, as well as the useless AIDS Prevention Law passed a few years ago. The current coverage of HIV and AIDS in the media recalls the hysteria during the promotion of the AIDS Prevention Law. It is always possible that in the interest of  "public health", the government will push for even more repressive measures.

AIDS, Discrimination and Human Rights
There has been the discrimination and prejudice against HIV infection from the outset. As is the case in Japan. Among the HIV infection in Japan, 77% are hemophiles, who are victims of misguided blood products policy by Japanese government. As the varieties of age and occupation among people with HIV, the discrimination takes various forms. There are many cases of rejection of examination and treatment at medical institutions. It is very serious problem. It is hard to come out for people with HIV because of the prejudice in Japanese society, both at school and at work place. At the root of this prejudice and discrimination, there are the misguided HIV policies. The law on the prevention of AIDS is intended to police people with HIV on the one hand, and the rejection of medical examination and treatment is overlooked on the other. To solve the problem, it needs not only the propagation of correct knowledge but also redressing the misguided policies; the abolition of the law on the prevention of AIDS. HIV policies must be based on human rights.

Visual AIDS TOKYO at the Present
A person's dying is lonely, regardless of what my, or your, religion and ideas on life and death are. Dead person, of course, Leave many things in the souls of people who survive. But if they die before I meet them, what 85 can I do? If we live without sympathy for what occurs now in Bangkok or in N. Y., it may be more fatal than the HIV infection. It is said that AIDS is the last chance for democracy. I think it is because AIDS teaches us a sense of modesty. The "modesty" does not imply moral prescriptions such as "Don't have a casual sex, Use condom," "Keep from male homosexuality and ,' '' drug use since these are high risk," and so on. I mean the modesty in making rules and systems of our own. Which is better rule, better system? In what manners, in what society we want to live? In short, whatever will do if it is not lonely. That is the "Visual AIDS TOKYO" in my conception at the present.

Well . . .
AIDS may be the voice of life which makes us to reconsider the basic structure of human beings as a sort of living things.

I Dare to Say that AIDS Is Only a Disease
NIBUYA Takashi
AIDS is, I affirm, only a disease. What is the most dangerous is to mythologies it. AIDS is neither "gay-disease, sex-disease," nor  "death,, '' disease." It means only a disease with symptom of immune deficiency. Person with AIDS is nakedly exposed to the world where pathogenic bodies whirl all around. De-mythologize AIDS. To forget AIDS. Is it careless to murmur "To forget AIDS"? Rather, at least for me, it is far uneasy to hear an eschatologic discourse on AIDS. AIDS is, I repeat, one of the diseases which fall on human beings as mortal. The words of people with AIDS disturb us, it's sure. The disturbance caused by words, just like those of Pascal, of those who are exposed to the indefinite "silence of disease," something like a pain which speak for us a fright at Being. But this disturbance must not get associated with irresponsible sympathy nor com-passion based on a common sin. De-mythologize 86 AIDS. Here, there is a very singular but not exceptional disease, where blows the wind which implies the excess of signification. We must filter it and read in it a serene gaze at being human mortal.

The AIDS Problem from the Japanese Woman's View Point
Many of the Japanese woman may say, "The AIDS problem is not my own." In fact, it is "my own problem." Official reports tell you: Don't make casual sex and be moderate, then, you are safe. This is a very obscure and problematic expression. What is the meaning of"moderate"? Monogamy? Monogamic behavior is not safe, at least, for Japanese women. There is the double standard in Japanese sexuality. Male polygamic behavior is overlooked. In addition, Japanese women are not educated to take the initiative concerning the contraception nor the prevention of STD. To use the condom or not is left to male partner. Japanese women, therefore, cannot protect themselves against STD transmission nor pregnancy by fixed single partner. HIV is transmitted by body fluids. The virus is indifferent whether the intercourse is at monogamy or polygamy. AIDS is the problem for every woman in Japan.

What's Wrong to Sell My "Sex"?
Burst City Children
The HIV infection by heterosexual intercourse has been increasing in Japan. The prostitution is pointed out as a factor of this increase. The prostitution is illegal in Japan, but it exists in public. I have worked as sex worker before. I don't think the commodification of sexuality is wrong. The reason why 1 left the work is the helplessness of sex workers in Japan. Since the prostitution is considered not as work but as crime, the sex workers are exposed to many dangers such as pregnancy, venereal disease and assault, against which they must protect themselves at their cost. 87 There is the discrimination against sex workers among both Japanese men and women. Identified as "a risk group" of HIV infection, they get more seriously discriminated. HIV is transmitted by body fluids, so the crucial point is how to behave (during intercourse), not whether prostitution or not. The most serious problem in Japan is the lack of rule with fairness and considerateness concerning the sexual interaction and transaction both between lovers and between sex workers and consumers. I wish people to enjoy sex under the rules based on the correct knowledge and with consideration.

Chronic and Contagious Disease, Public Health Policy, and Human Rights
IZUMI Shinzo
We have much to learn from the tragic results of past health policies that forcibly quarantined those with leprosy. First, it is obvious that disease prevention measures can come into conflict with the basic human rights of patient. Second, it is clear that it is very dangerous to apply special standards to any single disease. Both the healing and the sick should enjoy basic human rights; rather than rejecting people with HIV or AIDS, we must live together and work together to prevent the further transmission of the virus. But "safe sex" is not a sufficient answer to the problem. Although AIDS is very serious, in comparison with certain other diseases like malaria, it doesn't pose the most serious threat to the human species. To truly solve the problems posed by AIDS, we must eradicate poverty, complete disarmament, and build~l a society in which all people can live well while guarding the earth's resources. Whether we succeed or fail depends on whether we try.

A Medical Anthropologist Looks at AIDS
Medical anthropologists distinguish between illness and disease. Illness 88 is defined as the subjective, cultural experience of being sick, while disease is the object of medical description and understanding. AIDS is clearly a disease, and one which must be experienced within the framework of modern medicine. However, many have misunderstood the slogan, "Don't treat the disease but the patient," and on the basis of insufficient knowledge about AIDS, continue to work actively toward the social extermination of those with HIV and AIDS. The AIDS virus, HIV, is simply not very contagious, and condoms are extremely effective in preventing its sexual transmission. But instead of learning these two simple facts, many people are busily searching for "the history (origin) of AIDS" or "the history (origin) of AIDS careers," trying to make AIDS something that belongs to other people in other countries. That the phrase "the arrival of AIDS" in Japan has gained popularity recently shows how distant most Japanese feel, or want to feel, from people with HIV and AIDS. We must realize that we are all living "the history of (the disease called) AIDS."

 INVENTING AIDS (translated in Japanese)
Cindy Patton

Mourning and Militancy (translated in Japanese)
Douglas Crimp