About the Project

 HIV/AIDS: in it together was a series of workshops and public performances with an interdisciplinary group of Wits students. The workshops dealt with the stigma that still surrounds people living with HIV/AIDS and imagined different ways of bringing awareness about this problem through public performance art.  The project began in March 2011 with the intention of beginning a series of projects that would foster educational exchange between the artists which reside at the Nirox Residency Foundation and Wits School of the Arts (WSOA) students and graduates. Anthea Moys, WSOA lecturer and active performance artist, was appointed as the co-ordinator of these projects. Fluxus artist and activist Geoffrey Hendricks and his partner, curator and archivist, Sur Rodney came to stay at Nirox for the month of March. During Hendricks’ stay here he helped Moys facilitate three Saturdays of the six weekend workshops prior to the performances.
In line with WSOA’s interest in interdisciplinary collaboration, Moys invited 4th year and graduate students from the Music, Visual Art and Drama for Life departments. Two participants who are part of Tomorrow Trust (see www.tomorrow.org.za), one from WSOA Drama department and one from AFDA, also joined. The challenge to collaborate on an interdisciplinary level was very important to this project in that it challenged the artists to work beyond their ‘comfort zones’.
There were ten workshops in total, which produced 7 site-specific performance pieces in 7 sites in Braamfontein. These performances were held over 3 consecutive days in April.
Dealing with the theme of the stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS one of the challenges, which arose out of the workshops, was: how do we create life affirming performances that spread the message – there is life with HIV and that we are really all in it together…
The project dealt with the following issues:
Challenging the heavy stereotypes attached to loaded issues through life affirming and engaging practice.
Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Performance in public space
Performance art and Social Activism: the Role of the Artist
Trolleywood Films has been with us every step of the way and we will soon have a documentary of the entire project, which will be screened at the Bioscope at main Street Life and Wits School of the Arts as part of the WALE (Wits Arts and Literature Exchange) festival.
The film was also screened at some schools in Soweto and at Arts on Main where there was an exhibition about the project.  See 30 min film about the project below.