Gran Fury is a collective of AIDS activists opposing government and social institutions that make those living with AIDS invisible. Through visual projects, we seek to inform a broad audience and provoke direct action to end the AIDS crisis. Gran Fury was formed in January, 1988, shortly after "Let The Record Show…" in 1987, a collaborative window installation at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Naming ourselves Gran Fury after the Plymouth automobile customarily used as an undercover police car nationwide, the collective has produced numerious public projects including posters, stickers, shirts, fliers, printed ads, billboards and bus signs.
Gran Fury recognizes that "direct action" and "cultural activism" are expressions of different communities' differing needs, and this process can range from poster projects to street demonstrations to free needle exchange to peer education. We consistently attempt to situate our work in the "public realm" in an effort to include a diverse, non-homogeneous audience. Through appropriating dominant media's techniques, we hope to make the social and political subtexts of the AIDS epidemic visible and to incite the viewer to take the next step.
IN CUBA, EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD OVER THE AGE OF 15 IS TESTED. THOSE WHO ARE HIV POSITIVE ARE ASKED TO GO VOLUNTARILY TO A QUARANTINE FACILITY. THOSE WHO REFUSE HAVE A NYLON BAG THROWN OVER THEIR HEAD AND ARE BROUGHT IN BY FORCE. REPORTS OF ESCAPE ATTEMPTS GENERATE HUGE POLICE MOBILIZATIONS.
QUARANTINE MEASURES HAVE BEEN PROPOSED IN PLACES SUCH AS BAVARIA, SCOTLAND, EAST GERMANY AND RUSSIA. IN THE U.S., HIV POSITIVE PERSONS HAVE BEEN QUARANTINED IN MISSISSIPPI, FLORIDA AND SOUTH CAROLINA.
THE ANNUAL COST OF TREATING TEN PEOPLE WITH AIDS IN THE U.S. – ABOUT $450,000 – IS MORE THAN THE ENTIRE BUDGET OF ONE LARGE ZAIRIAN HOSPITAL. IN THE "THIRD WORLD" AGGRESSIVE TREATMENT OF AIDS WILL COST MORE THAN THE CURRENT EXPENDITURES OF ALL OTHER DISEASES COMBINED. MEANWHILE, AMERICAN AIDS RESEARCHER ROBERT GALLO PROPOSED USING AFRICANS TO TEST THE SAFETY OF POTENTIAL AIDS VACCINES FOR USE IN THE U.S.
THE ECONOMICS OF AIDS ARE
BOUND BY RACISM AND COLONIALISM.
BRAZIL, SECOND IN AIDS CASELOAD IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, WITH THE LARGEST FOREIGN DEBT IN THE "THIRD WORLD", BARELY AFFORDS HEALTH CARE FOR ITS POPULATION OF 138 MILLION. FIVE DOCTORS AND ONE SECRETARY ARE THE ENTIRE HEALTH MINISTRY STAFF ASSIGNED TO FIGHT AIDS. IN RESPONSE TO PRESSURE FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, BRAZIL REVISED TEXT OF TV CAMPAIGN, CHANGING EMPHASIS FROM USE OF CONDOMS TO "SELF CONTROL" OF SEXUAL IMPULSES.
A DUTCH PERSON WITH AIDS ON ROUTE TO AN INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE IN SAN FRANCISCO WAS DETAINED BY U.S. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION OFFICIALS AFTER AZT WAS DISCOVERED IN HIS LUGGAGE. HE WAS HANDCUFFED AND PLACED IN A MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON. FIVE DAYS LATER AFTER INTENSIVE INTERNATIONAL LOBBYING EFFORTS HE WAS RELEASED.
SIMILAR IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONS EXIST IN JAPAN, RUSSIA, BAVARIA, EAST GERMANY, CHINA AND OTHER COUNTRIES.