AIDS Memorialisation: A Biomedical Performance

  • Marc Arthur


This essay draws connections between the new HIV prevention regime PrEP and AIDS memorial media and architecture in the USA, in particular the New York City AIDS Memorial, to propose that the biomedical dissemination of PrEP mirrors the ways in which memorial architecture orchestrates a visitor’s perception of the virus and its history, particularly as both invoke performances of immunity through allegories of war and defence.



I would like to thank Tavia Nyong’o, Paul B. Preciado, Ann Pellegrini, Diana Taylor and Marianne Hirsch for their generous and critical responses to earlier drafts of this essay. I am especially grateful to Alyson Campbell and Dirk Gindt for their meticulous engagement with this version. Conversations with Jim Hubbard , co-founder of the ACT UP Oral History Project, and Kendall Thomas, a member of the New York City AIDS Memorial board, provided invaluable insight into my early research. I would also like to thank Jessica Witkin at Moran Bondaroff gallery and Jacolby Satterwhite for kindly allowing me to reproduce an image from Reifying Desire 6: Island of Treasure. As well, I would like to thank Doug Wingo for granting me permission to include a rendering of the New York City AIDS Memorial.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Arthur
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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