Drain Magazine 13 (2016)
Katrin Köppert and Todd Sekuler
Sick Memory: On the Un-detectable in Archiving Aids

... Are archival practices currently functioning in a mode that centers the potentiality and subjunctive futurity of being contagious/infected while feeling secure in the present? If so, what can the archives and exhibitions focused on AIDS tell us about the meaning and politics of such transformations? And if archives today do indeed help to secure the bodies integrity while dislocating insecurity into the future, what might operate as the queer politics of archiving AIDS? With the idea of ‘sick memory’ developed below, we aim to contribute to those strands of archival theory[4] that emphasize performativity and ephemerality, both of which we understand to also be implicated in the workings of un-detectability.

At the center of our attempt to engage epistemological approaches from public health, archival studies and queer politics is the recently staged exhibition AIDS. Based on a true story. Images +++ Media +++ Art at the Deutsche-Hygiene-Museum in Dresden (German Museum of Hygiene). Steeped in Germany´s politically inconsistent history (from the Weimar Republic to National Socialism to GDR’s socialism), the museum is well-known for its ideologically saturated communication of anatomical, medical and health-policy related artifacts of knowledge...

Köppert, Katrin, and Todd Sekuler. ‘Sick Memory: On the Un-Detectable in Archiving Aids’. Drain Magazine 13 (2016).

Katrin Köppert holds an MA in Gender Studies and German Literature from Humboldt-University in Berlin. Her Ph.D deals with queer pain in vernacular photography postwar and pre-stonewall. She was a doctoral scholarship holder from the DFG-research program “Gender as a Category of Knowledge”. Köppert currently works at the Institute for Media and Media Theory at the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz/Austria.

Todd Sekuler holds a BA in French Literature and Biology with a Certificate in European Studies from the University of Wisconsin, and an MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. Sekuler currently works at Humboldt University’s Institute for European Ethnology where he is completing his Ph.D. In September of 2016 he will begin a 3-year research project on European HIV/AIDS policies and activism as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area Joint Research Programme ‘Uses of the Past.’