considering attach-ability (#2)

hi guys,

So, I’ve had an idea for you both for around 6 months now and have regrettably failed to share it in a robust form. I would like to do so now. 

We may thank Brad Walrond for texting with me overnight (why he was awake, I do not know:).  Jonathan, Brad archives Pony’s work and/or that of his house.

Jonathan, remember when I mentioned I wanted to talk to you on insta the other day. Well, maybe we can do that in person on February 9th. I want to invite you to a performance at the home of Livia Alexander. It is rumored that Brad will perform there/then. Pony, you are most welcome also. 

Pony is the maker/father/legend of the House of Zion. Jonathan I presume you know a bit about the NYC and global ballroom/voguing houses. 

Pony, do you know Battery Dance?  BD is a lot of things. If I may: anchor dance/thought leader in downtown (for how long now, Jonathan?); key role in post 9/11 ‘being’ in downtown; cultural diplomacy/choreography/peacebuilding/dance … Well, they have a site where you can read all this:)

They use a tagline, ‘Dancing to Connect’, and I do feel that is an understatement!

Jonathan, Pony’s is a very special house. In 2015/16 I began researching types of exchange in ballroom thinking about local work I was seeing in São Paulo on HIV, public health access, and other right to the city concerns. Just before this period, I contracted HIV in São Paulo. So that also made the site of (a project on the right to the city) likely to consider HIV as one of its themes. We did this through Cidade Queer, a year-long series of encounters in 2016. I visited a site in Lecce, Italy to see Pony offering a workshop, and shortly after invited him to be a part of Cidade Queer and its culmination in late 2016. After a group production of the first ball (of its size) in São Paulo (called Ataque, September 2016)–something made by many people at once–Pony invited a Brazilian mother and father to take the reins of the new House of Zion-Brasil. 

In 2019, Pony returned to visit the house (along with Brad Walrond), and participated in the Ball: Vera Verão put on by Coletivo Amem and House of Zion-Brasil. I think perhaps Brad will perform the (not same:) 1986 piece on Feb. 9 that he did at this ball. 

In fact, Jonathan, I think I introduced you to the Coletivo Amem / House of Zion-Brasil guys on e-mail once. It was around the time that I first had this idea…the one that is coming. But also Pony was a part of the launch of my project Luv ’til it Hurts on HIV and stigma (back in October 2018), as was Brad. This collaboration led to their visit in January 2019.

I remember this email because I spoke of dancers and choreographers in the ballroom world ‘aging out’ … like that moment when the body won’t give the same as before. Of course this is different for each person, each dancer. 

These encounters–2015, 2016, 2018, 2019–allowed Pony and I the time to get to know each other. And, now I follow him on Insta:) Pony, am I right to say that VogueFitness is taking off? And, dude, you are looking buff!!

I remember what you told me of your idea. I luved it!! I hope I can ask you to share it here with Jonathan (and me again) … as I’m sure it’s changed / developed a bit since we last talked. 

Jonathan, it would not surprise me if you have also thought of concepts and solutions on this broad spectrum of wellness, professional transition support, public health issues, NYC, fitness … wellness. 

So, what I’m proposing is that you two guys might have things to talk about, ideas to make together. That is if you don’t already know each other. Uptown … Downtown.

Recently I was talking to a festival curator about a possible LUV ‘entry’ late this year. I don’t really have anything to offer. I have ideas, but some are limited by living far away in São Paulo. 

You know that place where ideas reside, usually early in the morning. An idea was there, and it recurred some times. If you two came up with a concept, perhaps LUV could present it to the or at the festival. Or vice versa. I don’t know. 

Would you guys have time to speak about this the first couple weeks in February and, please mark Sunday Feb 9 (LUV Iemanjá) on your calendars … if you are around?



Luv Letter, # complicated

A guy from Mexico contracted HIV. We had condomless sex. I remember this well. Some four years after our hook-up he contacted me because of Luv ’til it Hurts. He wanted to catch up. He wanted to know when I contracted HIV. He needed to dispel an idea that maybe he had carried HIV since the night of our lovemaking. I needed to react with annoyance. I did not. I needed to allow this. Also. It seemed. I had allowed it before in fact. This inquisition into memory and desire and night and sex and lovemaking. It was in a graveyard, a detail I should probably leave out.

My longtime partner in NYC is a black man. He contracted HIV since we broke up. I think I have to register this. 

I contracted HIV in São Paulo, therefore I could not have passed it to the Mexican guy … on a timeline this does not add up. My former partner told me of his status because of Luv and seeing it online. 

When I first contracted HIV I was with someone living with HIV. I needed to blame many things including the world itself. I blamed him. I tried to do it gently. I blamed him and he let me. Maybe he felt he needed to do that just as I needed to hear my Mexican friend in his quest for understanding. Maybe we do this. Maybe we torture ourselves, but maybe we won’t have to do that for much longer. 

Maybe I can say I’m sorry for blaming in a different way. Maybe I can try to understand something new that says thank you. Maybe that will hurt and seem unassociated. Maybe it has to. Maybe that’s lovemaking. 

what’s the connection between Luv & CHAOS?

Hi Deza,

Luv ’til it Hurts is a two-year project focused on HIV and Stigma. CHAOS is a campaign about mental health. As a person who has a chronic mental health condition as well as HIV, it is easy for me to consider and ‘internalize’ how my mental state and HIV ‘get along’ within me. As an artist who makes public, multi-stakeholder projects, I would like to ‘externalize’ a range of topics that pertain to HIV and stigma. I am using my own experience to ask how others contend with the two ‘co-morbidities’ (as the doctors call them) of HIV and depression. 

I use the metaphor ‘get along’ as if HIV and depression are kids that need to behave together on the playground. I have other metaphors that come to mind, but prefer this one. On a good day, they do get a long ok. I pop three pills (2 for HIV, 1 for depression) around lunchtime each day. I had already dealt with depression before contracting HIV, so I wasn’t surprised when I needed to take a higher dosage to contend with the stress of learning my HIV status. This dosage has gone down (and back up and down a few times) over the five year period of being HIV+. 

There are other times when I start to worry about the different medications interacting, even if prescribed by the same doctor. There are times when I’ve felt my dream life become more active, and wondered if it was the change from an older HIV med to a newer one, or the sometimes shifting dosage of the depression med. I have HIV+ friends who have also expressed their confusion (and sometimes denial) of side effects, but I admit that these conversations are not as common as the ones in which we compare HIV meds (like, what does your doctor have you on now?), and at the same time make mention of our ‘co-morbidities’ and the other drugs we take, entre nous. 

There is no question that talking with other poz folks offers a form of solidarity. However I don’t remember talking so much to other depressed folks before I contracted HIV. From a personal standpoint, I’m quite certain that open conversation and solidarity are important to quality of life and happiness. I think this is the connection for our projects.

I vividly remember an awareness campaign over a decade ago for which you worked with the City of Paris, and beautiful black and white images representing able bodies in a way that moved my understanding on ‘ableism’ were on the sides of city buses. Deza, I think you are a brilliant campaigner, and in Cameroonian terms, you are my big sister. Given that CHAOS and Luv ’til it Hurts are happening concurrently, I would simply like for our campaigns to ‘bang up against each other’, one learning from the other. If that’s ok?

Venezuela, Bogotá

Luciérnagas Laboratorio: Arte | fronteras | VIH  proyecto de arte por Daniel Santiago Salguero

Querido Todd. Respondiendo a tus preguntas del último correo te cuento: Efectivamente la crisis Venezolana ha traído una cantidad inmensa de personas de Venezuela a Colombia. Es la migración interna más grande en la historia reciente de Sur América. Se habla de hasta cuatro millones de venezolanos que están ahora en Colombia. Esto ha transformando el territorio cultural. Han llegado a asentarse en todas las ciudades de Colombia, inclusive en las islas del Caribe o en territorios rurales distantes de las ciudades. Muchos vinieron en una primera ola, quizás donde hubo más oportunidades o eran personas con preparación profesional. Ahora no es así, vienen las personas más pobres y en las situaciones más difíciles. Vienen inclusive hasta Bogotá caminando desde Venezuela. Atraviesan páramos y se enfrentan con la actitud xenófoba de muchos colombianos que no toleran su situación. No recuerdan por ejemplo que fueron los colombianos lo que emigraron a Venezuela en nuestra crisis económica y de violencia en los años noventas. Se dice que han regresado más de 300.000 colombianos que vivían en Venezuela. También se dice que la situación acá para los Venezolanos está tan difícil que muchos se están regresando a su país, se dice que se ven personas caminando por las carreteras hacia Colombia y otras ya regresandose a Venezuela. La relación específica y que interesa con respecto al VIH es que en Venezuela ya no hay medicinas para atender el virus. Así que quienes tienen VIH en Venezuela deben salir del país en una situación aún más vulnerable que las de los otros migrantes. Deben además de buscar techo, trabajo, arraigo, buscar su medicina, que es muy costosa y que el gobierno colombiano solo suministra a personas nacidas en el país a través del sistema de salud público. La situación está desbordada por muchos lados. Por ejemplo hasta la semana pasada se dio nacionalidad colombiana a más de 24.000 niños que habían nacido de padres venezolanos en territorio colombiano y que hasta ahora no tenían nacionalidad, ya que los consulados venezolanos están cerrados o no existen mas. Cómo vez, son muchas las aristas y hechos por analizar en medio de la debacle. Se dice que esto traerá muchos cambios sociales, y culturales, como se ha visto que ha sucedido en las grandes migraciones a nivel mundial y local. Ayer oí en la radio, están entrando alrededor de cincuenta mil venezolanos diariamente por la frontera a Colombia. A través del laboratorio estamos desentrañado estas historias, informaciones, estadísticas, subjetividades. Entender y encontrar información nos ayuda a situarnos en el territorio que habitamos. Desde el laboratorio intentaremos dar voz y espacio para reflexionar sobre estas urgentes temáticas.

El laboratorio está siendo tomado por personas en su mayoría colombianos. Casi todos tienen VIH y llegaron al laboratorio a través de la Liga Colombiana de lucha contra el sida, un aliado definitivo para el laboratorio.

El laboratorio consta de 10 sesiones temáticas, de las que ya llevamos cinco: El cuerpo en las artes, Memoria Léxica, Arte y fronteras, Arte y VIH, Grupo de estudio y redes de afecto. Estas sesiones han traído charlas y colaboraciones muy esclarecedoras de la situación. Cómo ya sabes la idea es hacer un performance final en espacio público, al parecer sucederá durante la noche del 25 de octubre en el Jardín Botánico de Bogotá. Las sesiones son abiertas y gratuitas para la comunidad. Por lo general nos encontramos en grupos de 8 a 15 personas. La idea es que haya un grupo constante, creo que serán unas diez personas posiblemente las que lleguen hasta el final del laboratorio para la presentación. La metodología de trabajo para este performance viene de herramientas que adquirí en la Maestría de Teatro y Artes Vivas que hice en la Universidad Nacional de Bogotá hace unos años. Esta maestría es dirigida en gran parte por los directores de la compañía de teatro Mapateatro, que tiene un interés especial en poéticas relacionadas a la memoria, lo político y social.


Luciérnagas Laboratory: Art | borders | HIV  art project by Daniel Santiago Salguero

Dear Todd. In response to your questions from your last e-mail, let me tell you: Indeed, the crisis in Venezuela has brought a huge amount of people from Venezuela to Colombia. It is the biggest internal migration in recent South American history. It is said that there are almost four million Venezuelans in Colombia now. This has transformed the cultural terrain. They have settled in all towns across Colombia, including in the Caribbean islands and in rural locations, far away from the big cities. Many have come over in a single first wave, perhaps to where there were more opportunities, or they were people who came with a specific professional training. Now it is no longer like that, the people who are coming are poorer and in more difficult situations. They even walk from Venezuela all the way to Bogotá. They cross moors and confront the xenophobic attitudes of many Colombians who do not tolerate the situation. These Colombians do not remember, for example, that it was them who emigrated to Venezuela in the nineties during the crisis afflicted by economics and violence. It is said that more than 300,000 Colombians who lived in Venezuela have returned. It is also said that the situation here for Venezuelans is so difficult that many are returning to their country, and that people are seen walking on the highways to Colombia while others are returning to Venezuela. The specific relationship to HIV is that Venezuela no longer has the medicine for the virus. So those who have HIV in Venezuela must leave the country in an even more vulnerable position than the that of the other migrants’. Asides from looking for a roof, work, and some rooting, they must also look for their medicine, which is very expensive and the Colombian government only supplies through the public health system to people who were born in the country. The situation is overstressed in many ways. For example, up until last week, the Colombian nationality was given to more than 23,000 children who were born from Venezuelan parents on Colombian territory, and who up until now did not have a nationality, since the Venezuelan consulates have been closed down, or no longer exist. As you can see, there are many sides and facts to analyze within the debate. People say that this will bring about many social and cultural changes, as we have seen has happened in large migrations on both global and local scales. Yesterday I heard on the radio that there are over fifty thousand Venezuelans entering, daily, through the Colombian border. In the labs, we have been unraveling these stories, informations, statistics, and subjectivities. Understanding and finding information helps us situate ourselves in the territory in which we inhabit. In the lab, we try to give voice and space to reflect on these urgent themes.

The lab is being used by Colombians in majority. Almost all of them have HIV and arrived at the lab through the Liga Colombiana de lucha Contra el Sida, a definite ally to the lab.

The lab features 10 thematic sessions, five of which we have already done: The body in the arts, Lexical Memory, Art and borders, Art and HIV, Study group and networks of affect. These sessions have brought talks and collaborations that have been very clarifying about the situation. As you already know, the idea is for there to be a constant group, and I believe there will likely be around ten people who will arrive before the end of the lab for the presentation. The work methodology for this performance comes from tools that I have acquired during my Master’s in Theater and the Living Arts, which I completed at the National University of Bogotá some years ago. This Master’s is managed in large part by the directors of the Mapateatro theater company, which has a special interest in poetics that are related to memory and to that which is political, as well as social.

Sesión #1 – Contexto del cuerpo en las Artes

Sesión #2 – Memoria Léxica

Sesión #3 – Arte / VIH

Sesión #4 – Arte / Fronteras

Letter Report

Hi all this is a report that the musician that worked with me producing and thinking the music of my last completed worked named “Fantasia casi soneto después de una lectura de dan(c)e” sent me after going to ArteBA Focus (version of the big art fair in Buenos Aires done by the same people):

Hi, Dudu, how’s it going?

I was on ArteBA Focus for a while, all right. I give you a brief report: The work was in a plasma TV of acceptable size, but had no headphones, and the environment was too noisy to be heard well with the speakers of the device. Also, when I went, the video had a jump, a line of slight horizontal digital noise, which appeared cyclically and affected everything, video and audio. Still, it could be said that, given the context, the work was “intelligible”, and in fact, I saw several people stop to look at it for a while. Very good photos of you too, I liked them.

The sample, in general ok, although nothing dazzled me: – [

After reading this email this morning I felt like taking this as a chance to say more and to send it to you, curators and people working and deciding about art nowadays.

I am now living in Frankfurt and these pasts days had been the first depressive days I had here.

After being yelled while transporting myself through the city twice, Friday around 8AM and Saturday around 00AM, I decided to create a new sound work called “I love you Frankfurt”, that actually I had this idea way before but now it´s urgent for me to do it. Will be done soon hopefully.

As I am far from my Umbanda Terreiro in São Paulo, I have to appeal to some improvised healing like having a haircut today as I always do when feeling down. Today my haircut was only to leave the knife I have tattooed in my head visible to others. Now I feel cold in my head.

Great haircut to go to my Ausländerbehörde Frankfurt (Foreigners Department) meeting in 20 days! To try to get my visa, not having reached the money I need or either a sponsor who could sign a letter. Yet.

I never forget listening to Cuauhtémoc Medina talking about the meaning of Curatore.: those who used to take care…of money (back then).

But I sold two photos in the art fair! From which I have to discount half from both for the galley (fair) and production of everything (fair). I need now to think how to do to make the money travel from Buenos Aires to Frankfurt. Hopefully a friend will carry the papers for me.

Thinking about this art fair experience I do need to think of doing an exhibition soon, and I do have works ongoing:

I’m waiting for a dramaturge called Carol to come back to Guissen (next to Frankfurt) from Japan (she was at Kyoto experiment) to start a new project I already started here: performative film about a choir that sings problems in German. Their problems doesn´t seem the same as mine problems. I have a lot of ideas already for this, it´s exciting.

And I also decided to continue my blind project video with only sound, with the two amazing persons Luiz Carlos and Paula who are in São Paulo. Something good will come out from this as long as I can still be here to use the studio sound at school!

I also delivered a project here to see if I can get money for it, it´s called Incapazes. In a way it´s about art and care. A tiny for of this film was part of Jessica Gogan´s video about art and care where the curator Ricardo Resende that helped me in the beggining with this project as curator of Museu Bispo do Rosario (the museum that actually helped to get into the hospital as a pacient) I sent already this project for an open call in São Paulo, they didn´t choose it.

I started “Incapazes” last December in a psychiatric hospital in Rio de Janeiro. The material is waiting in my external hard drive and few notebooks, handwritten diaries, and now the project has another layer: doing a field research about art and madness and care here in Frankfurt starting with Heinrich Hoffman and the Sammlung Prinzhorn collection. Finger crossed.

I cried twice this weekend and talked with my lover who is now going back also from Japan to Salvador da Bahia. We talked about HIV and care and love…

And this email is mainly because I´ve been thinking about CARE.

What am I doing?

Today I thought a lot about what Willem de Rooij said in our first class meeting, in a way is like a ritual for him to send a photo of Nancy Reagan with the slogan Just Say No.

We all need to think a little more about care, and this should be translated to what we do. I felt really surprised reading that the city where I studied and grew up and decided to be an artist is or was at list for a couple days “An Art Basel City”. What does this means? I don´t get it. Are they buying the city or renting it? How are they helping there or what is their real interest? I´m curious (not that much reall). But one thing takes me to the other and seeing all those # and my work involved did affected me while thinking about CARE.

And finally: I wanted to deliver “Fantasia casi soneto después de una lectura de dan(c)e” with English subtitles for all of you but seems that I can´t download the program I´m used to use for this kind of work. So I will have to wait for this. Any way, the Spanish version of a work done during 7 months in what seems to be now an Art Basel City, the lovely but weird Buenos Aires FUCK MACRI, LOL:

Embroidery and curating non-artists

photo: Cadu Oliveira

My upstairs neighbor, Carué is a medical doctor and AIDS activist. While he doesn’t front as artist, he has a cool project (that occurs to me as artistic) by which he asks for a piece of clothing. He takes it to a local shopping mall, Galeria do Rock where a lot of young people hang out in the center of São Paulo and a specific embroidery shop in the busy arcade. He pays for ‘HIV+’ to be embroidered somewhere prominently on the piece. He then tells you where to pick it up. One need not be HIV+ to receive this gift. Recently I asked him if I could include a photograph of his embroidered work in a museum show that I’m co-curating. For a range of reasons, the curatorial group first used a cropped image of his suit coat without his face, and agreed that I would ask him if he preferred a different image. Carué insisted that we show his face, and so we replaced the ‘suit coat’ with a new image he provided. It was an easy decision to come to, perhaps because we have already acknowledged both the need to personalize (or put a face to HIV) against the subtext of using the face of a white man for this particular theme (and in the Museum of Sexual Diversity’s location in a busy metro station). Since these topics were already ‘on the table’, the curatorial group was able to easily balance the topic of HIV/AIDS with other themes; reconsider the prominence and placement of non-white faces and voices in the small space; and adjust the ratio of women, men, trans (men and women), and non-binary folks participating in the show. As a curator, artist and HIV+ downstairs neighbor, I found it a unique learning experience. And, I also understood why Carué required me to pick up my gift, when the lady at the embroidery shop asked me to repeat more loudly what was embroidered on the piece as she shuffled through past orders in the back of the shop. ‘HIV+’ I said, and tipped my head to the guy behind me in line who was waiting on us to finish the transaction. She found it, holding up a green linen button-up with fluorescent orange embroidery.