Mykki Blanco, STONES & WATER WEIGHT, 2017
Commissioned by Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2017, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett
STONES & WATER WEIGHT responds to the need for new interpretations of HIV+ people. Mykki Blanco is portrayed in tasks that test the limits of the body and physical stress and the boundaries of normative health. STONES & WATER WEIGHT is an exercise in how societies' perceive the fragilities of those who survive with the virus. In this era of globalized fitness culture through the use of social media, "looking healthy" matters much more than actually being healthy. Using endurance as the motivation for the performance, the video creates a new perception of HIV+ people as strong and resilient. Research references include the Atlas myth, the god of endurance that holds the earth and the skies over his shoulders, as well as the never ending climb of the Sisyphus myth.
Mykki Blanco is a writer and international recording artist. Blanco found fame first as a fearless noise rap poet publishing the book "From The Silence Of Duchamp To The Noise Of Boys.” Blanco is known as one of hip hop’s queer pioneers amassing a vast global following with a savvy and savage social media output. Mykki is hailed online as a digital warrior princess who rules across the underground music scene with mixtapes like Gay Dog Food, cult hits like Kingpinning and sensational videos like Coke White, Starlight, The Initiation, Wavvy, and Haze Boogie Life. Everything Blanco has ever released has been razor sharp, ahead of its time and sometimes deliciously far out. Blanco has toured with Björk, recorded with Tricky and Basement Jaxx. In 2016 Blanco released "MYKKI" her debut album to critical praise. She has also been featured in The New York Times; on the covers of Gay Times as well as The Village Voice; and in Time Magazine, where she discussed what it means to be a musician living openly with HIV. Blanco lives and works internationally, often in Lisbon, Portugal.
December 1, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, a day of mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis. A presentation of short film and video works held concurrently at over one hundred art institutions and universities, Day With(out) Art is organized annually by Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today. This year's program, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic and features seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell, curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS. In 2017 ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS screened at 116 venues worldwide, premiering at the Whitney Museum of American Art on December 1, with additional marquee screenings at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.