Austin Faces AIDS Falcon 5 Trailer at 1000 E. 5th Street - OPEN until Jan. 2, 2012, Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10am- 4pm
Austin Faces AIDS
On view until Jan. 2.
Don't miss it!
AIDS Services of Austin has
collaborated with documentary photographer, Jo Ann Santangelo, to present
“Austin Faces AIDS: Portraits of People Living with HIV and AIDS.” This
intimate multimedia project helps to increase HIV and AIDS awareness and reduce
stigma by putting a local face to this disease. The project features 17 people living with HIV and AIDS in
Central Texas. All walks of life are represented including men, women, and
transgender people from varying racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Two
portraits of each person hangs in the trailer space with corresponding
written narratives. Short interviews conducted with the 17 people featured in the
multimedia portrait project are available for viewing on a laptop, and a “trailer”
style video featuring excerpts of the interviews projects on the wall.
The exhibit is housed in a trailer dubbed the ‘Falcon 5’ and
parked in the East Side Drive-In lot across from Progress Coffee. The event is free and open to the public.The
portrait project will be on view until January 2, 2012, Tuesdays – Saturdays,
from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (or by appointment).
The following is an interview with the artist, Jo Ann Santangelo.
Why did you choose HIV/AIDS as your multimedia portrait project topic?I like to document issues that affect us all. Part of why I chose
this project and others I have worked on is that the people involved are
stigmatized and/or stereotyped and I wanted to help reduce the stigma they
experience and defy the stereotypes that persist.
When I moved back to Austin last December, I was looking to start a new
project. Then it was time for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS kick-off party.
The ride has always been an important part of Austin life for me. I’ve always
loved the ride and the folks I met through the ride. The kick-off party inspired me to contact
AIDS Services of Austin to see if they had any interest in collaborating on a
multimedia photo project.
My last project ‘Proud to Serve’ was focused on LGBT
military veterans who were discharged or resigned because of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t
Tell’ (DADT). With that project, I wanted to challenge the stereotype of what a
gay person looked like and put a face to the people who were impacted by that
What is your personal connection to HIV and AIDS? I have friends that are HIV+ and have known people that
have passed away due to HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. I also grew up in the 80's
and have a firsthand memory of the disease emerging 30 years ago –and the
illnesses, the deaths and the fear that came along with it. Back then, HIV/AIDS
was everywhere. Lately, I feel like I don’t hear of people dying of HIV/AIDS
but I also don’t hear much about people living with it either. I also wanted
help get it back into the collective consciousness since AIDS is still very
What became evident to you along the way that hadn't occurred to you
before you embarked on this journey?Even though I consider myself pretty informed about the
issues around HIV and AIDS, I was still not prepared for the emotional toll of
listening, absorbing and sharing these courageous peoples' stories. Also, this was my first time working with video and the time and energy
involved editing the interviews was more time-consuming than I thought it would
be. After it was all done, the joy of
seeing the individuals featured in the project and community come to the
opening was amazing. And now I have a whole new set of friends.
Please describe the process that you went through with every individual
featured in the exhibit. I visited with each person that contacted me three to
four times. The first time I went to
their home, we just talked and got to know each other. This was the first time
a good number of the individuals featured in the project had ever sat down and
told their story. On the second visit, while talking, I photographed the color
environmental portraits. On the third visit, I asked if they wanted to either
tell their story (shoot the video) or be photographed (shoot the black and
white portrait). For that I brought in a white backdrop and a studio light and
would ask the subject to sit where we had shot the last portrait. I wanted them to know this was about them and
that I was just there to deliver the message.
What do you want people to take away from the show?To be aware that folks are still getting infected, that
HIV/AIDS is blind to the type of person you are -- it doesn't care if you are
rich, poor, black, white, male, or female. That, in the end, HIV/AIDS is not
something that just happens to bad people.
Why did you choose to display the exhibit in a
nontraditional gallery space -- a 40 ft. office trailer parked in the East
Side Drive-In Lot? I wanted a space where the work could be viewed, experienced, and most
importantly, a space where people could come and talk to me. In a traditional
gallery space, the artist is usually only available on "opening"
night, by displaying the work in the container, I'm here and available 6 hrs a
day, 5 days a week until January 2nd.
How has staffing the Falcon 5 been going? It's been interesting sitting at the Falcon 5 for six
hours a day. I love how people are coming here, talking to me, talking to each
other, looking at photos, watching the
videos, and walking away knowing more about the issues that people with HIV and
Watch Fox 7’s Good Day Austin coverage
About Jo Ann Santagelo Santangelo is an Austin-based photographer who has
worked on ground-breaking multimedia projects such as “Walking the Block:
Christopher Street,” about sex workers in NYC, and “Proud to Serve,” featuring
portraits of LGBT veterans. Her work has appeared in Mother Jones, The New York
Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and more. To see more of her work,
visit her website: http://joannsantangelo.com/
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Address: 1000 E. 5th Street Two blocks east of I-35 Austin, TX 78702
Our mission is to enhance the health and well-being of the community and people affected by HIV and AIDS.