Witnessing AIDS in the archive
This article examines the Face of AIDS film archive from the perspective of witnessing, asking how different narratives both testify and bear witness to different experiences and changing perspectives. This approach has the potential to convey new insights into HIV and AIDS that go beyond the established facts and mainstream narratives.
The article uses the case study of the 1988 interview with Lyle Taylor, a dying AIDS patient in Sydney, and its remediation within the archive. This was the filmmaker Staffan Hildebrand’s first interview with a person dying from AIDS. The analysis focuses on how witnessing relates the spoken word to its context. In exploring the remediation of this interview via edited material, the analysis shows how the same verbal testimony is changed by its context. In exploring the raw footage of the interview, different narratives that express and defend subjectivity bear witness to the experience of HIV and AIDS.