chapter  8
12 Pages

Waiting for a cure

Cultural perspectives on AIDS in the 1980s
ByAdam Brenthel, Kristofer Hansson

The aim of this chapter is to study waiting as a cultural practice in the medical context at the end of the 1980s, with the help of a number of unedited documentary sequences that journalist Staffan Hildebrand shot in 1988 together with cameraman Christer Strandell. How is waiting framed in Hildebrand’s filming? How is it visually expressed and how do Hildebrand and the persons he talks to incarnate it in speech and bodily expressions? Waiting becomes central in the documentary sequences. The doctors reflect upon waiting in relation to the questions asked by Hildebrand. In 1988, people are waiting for any new drug that will give life back to the young people that have AIDS. People also fear that this emerging infectious disease could spread and escalate. But, above all, people are waiting for death, all the young men in cities like Paris, New York, and Stockholm, who are carrying the deadly disease, and this burden is reflected by the doctors in the sequences.