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Performance, Substitutes

Keeping Up With The Virus

“For six years already I have been moving and becoming with HIV.”

Keeping up with the Virus explores interdependency, connection seeking, risk-taking, and solidarity through the embodied metaphor of the virus performing in the artist’s body in the era of undetectability. Situated in relation to the unique constellation of artists gathered at W139, the performance looks to activate genealogies and dramaturgies of living with HIV across time.

Szymon Adamczak (1991, he/his, PL/NL) is a queer dramaturg, writer, theatre, and performance maker working across disciplines. He has a vital interest in HIV-related culture and transnational queer activism. Alum of DAS Theatre and a current fellow of THIRD, a programme for artist-researchers offered by DAS Research. As a dramaturg he specialises in designing artistic processes, (non)verbal, intimate and documentary work. In his own creations, Szymon weaves poetic imagination, visual sensitivity, theory and physical performance. From 2017 to 2021 he developed and presented the performance An Ongoing Song with Billy Mullaney. He now works as an artistic coordinator of IPOP, a practice-based, research and workshop oriented programme fostering queer education at the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam. Szymon lives in the Netherlands and volunteers for HIV Vereniging. Currently Szymon is developing a body of research in relation to Bob Mellors, a co-founder of Gay Liberation Front UK, his life and activism, and ultimately tragic death in Warsaw in 1996.

Billy Mullaney (USA) is an Amsterdam-based artist working in theatre, choreography, and performance art. His research focuses on representational practices in and of various sites of performance, the modes of spectatorship they conventionally engender, and how interventions in the former affect the latter. By rigorously embodying such interventions, Billy’s work often foregrounds the physiological impact of movement and thought on the body, indexing the stakes of adhering too closely (or too successfully) to logics such as the attention economy or post-fordist production. This research has led him to experiment with forms ranging from quantum physics lectures and children’s television shows to promotional trailers and tarot readings.

Currently Szymon is developing a body of research, workshops and lectures in relation to Bob Mellors, a co-founder of Gay Liberation Front UK, his life and activism, and ultimately tragic death in Warsaw in 1996. This project is supported by the City of Warsaw scholarship for 2023. First iteration of the project is a short film called “The Soldier’s Tale” presented within Queerstories program for Polish and Ukrainian queer artists.

Photography by Elodie Vreeburg.

Visual identity by Jacob Hoving.

This exhibition is generously supported by Mondriaan Fund, Gieskes-Strijbis Fund, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Goethe Institut, Centro Elisarion, Pro Elisarion Association, Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus, Forum Queeres Archiv München, Grafisch Atelier Hilversum and Fonds21.