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It Could Be Me

This project is a work for collaboration with the British Library and Royal College of Art. By using the oral hisory recording provided by British Library, we were expected to explore new ways to experience and listen to other people’s narration and speech in this course.

A sound installation based on oral history supported by British Library.

This project aims to respond to Jonathan Blake’s interview. Jonathan Blake, born in 1949, is one of the first people who diagnosed HIV positive in UK in the 1980s, and he is still living healthly now.  This work quoted a piece of audio from his oral interview archived by British Library.

“It could be me” is the reflection of Jonathan when he had been asked how did he deal with the death of the people around him. Jonathan said he was very fortunate, and we could say that we are quite fortunate comparing with them as being in the gay group. But at that time, they were being discriminated by people just because that they were more likely to carry the virus. “It could be me” works not only for him, but also for everyone of us; not only the HIV but also something else. Now, I can feel the value of this phrase very strongly under the  pandemic challenge of Covid-19.

At first, people felt no relationship with it when the epidemic centre is not around them, even they show discrimination to those people who are with the same nationality but never traveled in those areas. They acted like a spectator to those people in the misfortune. The coronavirus is just like HIV. In the 1980s, the group of gay man was facing the same thing. Actually, it is not their fault to be that group.  From Wuhan to China, to Italy. Now, the misfortune is all over the world. During the research, it is amazing to find Jonathan’s experience of getting involved with LGSM (lesbians and gays support the miners). As a member of an edge group, they did not only fight for their own reputation but also help another group people in difficult -- the Wales miners on strike. It was such a great action for an edge commnity like them.

Therefore, the core of this work I want to express is the humanity we shared. We all know that the rights and reputation of our own community is important, but what is meaning of being human if we only consider for ourselves. Somethings sometimes take no difference.

I used a mirror to let audience to see themselves. Meanwhile, the mirror is vibrated by the voice of Jonathan, and the reflection of audience’s face will be affected, too.

Photo and video: Jiuming Duan