The study group Embracing Uncertainty. Driving Away Evil II seeks to jointly reflect on the ways in which we understand health, healing and care in the current context of the COVID-19 crisis and encourages a pooling of experiences, emotions and knowledge. While the emergence of HIV coincided with the start of neoliberal globalisation in the late 1980s, the present crisis has not only transpired with the said system fully in place, but is also closely related to the consequences that this global project has produced on our way of life.
In these different sessions, questions are raised in relation to knowledge created from present-day experiences and how we politicise them: How are we living? What conditions does life produce? How do we manage the health/healing/care chain of people and otherness beyond humanity? How much attention do we pay to the relationship between different layers of existence: the environment, other living beings and things? How could health, understood as the well-being of life as a whole, be positioned at the centre of society without it meaning a more restrictive life experience?
A dialogue is set in motion from the present through experiences that were engendered in other decades with the so-called AIDS crisis, articulating questions around the management and politics of the body, in addition to the politicisation of the different aspects of these lived experiences.
Embracing Uncertainty. Driving Away Evil II stems from the process developed in 2020 with the study group Driving Away Evil, and is revitalised with a group of participants interested in the relationship between the pharmacologization of life and contemporary disturbances, as well as in imagining strategies of collective and daily resistance.
Embracing Uncertainty. Driving Away Evil II is organised across five sessions through ongoing and collective work, and pivots on four axes:
- Health as well-being and as a centre of human and non-human life/lives. How can we manage the health/healing/care chain of people and otherness?
- Ways of inhabiting the politics of affection and care. How can we understand the “fear of contact” that causes real and subjective barriers opposite “the other”, social fragmentation, and the construction of conflicted worlds? Is collective thinking around ways of being close possible?
- Language as a builder of realities. How can we inhabit new language born out of the pandemic and to what degree can these forms of naming, signalling and controlling reality be subverted?
- Stopping, Breathing, Doing Less. Can we stop? What does briefly stopping productivity, movement, commitments and consumption entail? Have we suspended or replaced them? Is there anything from this period we want to keep?
The first session centres on sharing the experience of the project Anarchivo sida (AIDS Anarchive) — developed by researchers coordinating this group, along with Aimar Arriola (Equipo re) — and of the study group Driving Away Evil, while the sessions that follow will include a review of past and present practices tied to HIV/AIDS movements, and the practices of the participants in this group. Moreover, collective tools will be fashioned from the axes, helping us to inhabit this uncertain time and a possible future. Artist Josune Urrutia will also participate to help conjointly build forms of realising a “narration”, as much through de-localised work as that which is generated in each session.
Nancy Garín and Linda Valdés
are independent researchers who make up Equipo re, a research platform residing at the crossroads between politics of the body and archive and a platform which, in recent years, has developed the project Anarchivo sida
(AIDS Anarchive). In 2020, they coordinated the study group Driving Away Evil
in the Museo Reina Sofía, perpetuating exercises of reflection and debate around managing life.
Josune Urrutia holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country and a Technical Degree in Illustration. As an artist, illustrator and draughtswoman, she works on processes and tools in which drawing is an essential medium for communication and socialisation, for instance graphic recording, graphic medicine in the world of healthcare and processes of collective drawing. She obtained a grant in graphic creation: comic and graphic novels, from the Basque Government in 2020, and earned an Honourable Mention in the Graphic Novel Residency at the Maison des Auteurs Angoulême, France, from Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image in 2018. She is the author of Compendio colectivo sobre cáncer (2020), Breve diccionario enciclopédico ilustrado de MI cáncer (2017) and Así me veo (2015), and will soon publish Hoy no es el día, a reflection on the social and political commitment to transforming relationships with cancer.