Open PEI seminar organised by Beatriz Preciado

The eighties are often seen as the end of the revolutionary period that had rocked the Western world since May 1968: the decline of the social emancipation movements had given way to a neoliberal democratic consensus that replaced ideological opposition with economic growth. But stereotypes aside, the eighties were not just a time of unprecedented intensity in biopolitical management of the body and sexuality, but also of the invention of new strategies for struggle and resistance.

This seminar invites a selection of theorists, activists and artists to carry out an archeology of the languages, representations and practices that emerged during the AIDS crisis in the eighties. It will explore issues such as the relevance of the notion of biopolitics in describing contemporary forms of control of the body and sexuality, the use of gender performance as a political strategy, the continuity between the practices of ACT UP and anti-psychiatry and institutional criticism, the possible link between punk culture and anti-AIDS guerrillas, the reappropriation of the advertising, media and marketing techniques of late capitalism as a strategy of protest and resistance to the norm, the shift from identity politics to queer micropolitics, the emergence of activist know-how, and the introduction of artistic counter-biopolitics of intervention in the public sphere. The idea is to open up debate around contemporary management of HIV-positive bodies and of the relationship between art and activism as techniques for redefining life beyond biopolitics.

Pedro Lemebel "Alacranes en marcha", 1994


Friday November 26 from 6 to 9 pm; Saturday November 27 from 10 am to 2 pm

Friday November 26
Cynthia Patton and Michel Feher

Saturday November 27
Christophe Broqua and Ferran Pujol


Christophe Broqua is a doctor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, París). His early research work focused on HIV/AIDS-related collective movements in France. He is currently researching forms of homosexuality in French speaking countries in Western Africa.

Michel Feher is a philosopher, founding editor of Zone Books, and the president of Cette France-là, a French organization that publishes a yearly volume monitoring France's immigration policy under the Sarkozy presidency.

Cindy Patton was an activist in the early AIDS movement through the mid-1990s, and was a cofounder, in 1982, of the Boston AIDS Action Committee. She continues to write on the cultural and social aspects of AIDS, from her position as Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture and Health at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Beatriz Preciado is a philosopher and researcher at Princeton University, a lecturer in gender theory and the political history of the body at Paris 8 University, and on the teaching staff at the MACBA's Independent Studies Program (PEI). She is also an active participant in the current debate on ways of subjectivation and identity, not just in Spain but also in various international forums. Her books Manifiesto contra-sexual (2002) and Testo yonqui (2008) are key reference texts in contemporary queer theory. Her essay Pornotopía. Arquitectura y sexualidad en Playboy durante la guerra fría, on the origins of what became the world's biggest-selling adult magazine, was the finalist in the 38th Premio Anagrama de Ensayo.

Ferran Pujol is the director of the NOMS-Hispanosida project, one of the largest and most active NGOs fighting AIDS in Spain. His latest project involved implementing Spain's first community-based centre for the detection of HIV and other STIs aimed at gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Ferran Pujol is a member of the EATG (European AIDS Treatment Group) and a founding member of CACSIDA (Spanish Community Advisory Board on AIDS).

MACBA Public Programs
Tel. 93 481 79 00
pei [at] macba [dot] cat




David Wojnarowicz "Firewater", 1991


ACT UP Paris
Aids activism, nongovernemental politics, and the neoliberal condition
1989: The End of the Beginning of AIDS
Aids activism, nongovernemental politics, and the neoliberal condition
1989: The End of the Beginning of AIDS
ACT UP Paris