#69, ghosts can’t tell stories

March 29, 2017

This #100hardtruths was shared with me by my friend, the media artist and activist who creates magical experiences, Quito Zeigler, from their longer rumination, “Elegy from a Queendom that Never Became,” about a gallery of photographs culled from the Visual AIDS artists’ registry.

untitled (Melissa Xtravaganza), 1992, Luna Luis Ortiz, gelatin silver print, 20×16

“Why can’t ghosts tell stories? All of these images were taken before 2000 and tap into the magic and creativity of queer life at the time.

Quentin Crisp, 1997, TRET Tierney, Polaroid pictures, 11×8.5

Coming of age in the early 90s, it never occurred to me that queerness was a sexy, available community or lifestyle. I was taught that to be gay meant dying of AIDS. Considering the sex-positive radical queertopia I now reside in as an adult, that death threat may actually have held some truth.

Who DO we want to be when we grow up? Who did THEY want to be? If they hadn’t been decimated by the plague, would we, their descendants, be different, more humble? Did we inherit their angry vagabond spirits when they left this earth just as we were arriving? And if so, how can we honor their lives and their deaths, so future generations can just keep exploring?

untitled , 1985, Tim Greathouse, gelatin silver print , 7×5,

The problem with images is that they don’t have a voice. I can see the makeup and shy confidence, feel the awkwardness and exhilaration. But I want more: I want to hear the stories, and to learn from the wisdom they were able to accumulate.

Instead I can only just look, and wonder.”

The Kiss from Ginger Heaven, NYC, 1993, Jorge Veras

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One Response to “#69, ghosts can’t tell stories”

  1. […] artist, author, theorist, polemicist with time (and better yet in the company of others). Enjoy the insane potential of human production. Then attempt how to re-enliven and share this sustaining encounter with equal […]

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