I walked in slightly late after rushing from ceramics, to the mailroom (where they changed my mailbox which caused additional delay), to the POA gear closet where I saw Genna and she asked me if I was still going to try to see the talk even though it had started nearly twenty minutes earlier. I told Genna that I really wanted to see as much as I could because not only had I heard about the talk in this class, but I also got a flyer in my ceramics class. I am really glad that I saw what I was able to see. Greg Bordowitz spoke with a candidness that really brought life to my understanding of AIDS video activism and the other issues he discussed. He said that he could only retrace his steps. He told us about being 23 living in New York hoping to be an artist, and testing positive for HIV in 1988. He spoke about Testing The Limits Co. and DIVA tv, where he worked closely with a friend named Angie. It is hard for me to describe the tone that he spoke with. He was calm, but still conveyed the emotional weight that goes along with having to say when another friend has died as a result of the virus he has been living with for almost three decades now.
I really liked a distinction Bordowitz made between mainstream television and the kind of programming he was aiming to create for AIDS video activism. Commercial mainstream television he said targets an audience that is a niche demographic organized to sell products to, while alternative programming aims more to reach a constituency- a group of people with common interests/ causes. I think this is an important distinction because in this time period, people grow up conforming more to these niche demographics for product promotion than developing their own passions and finding others with common interests. So much of our lives in some way gets infused by product promotion, and I think it is shameful how advertising gets the spotlight over advocacy for social issues such as AIDS video activism. Bordowitz mentioned the film, Tongues United. I did a little bit more research on this film after the talk, and it seems like a great example of the kind of media our class aims to educate us about. In Tongues Tied, the director and producer Marlon Riggs uses a similar approach that Bordowitz did during the talk: combining accounts of his own experiences with discussions of the larger issues at hand. Hopefully we will see a movie like this soon!