Excerpt from “Enduring Archive: Vivian Crockett on Julie Tolentino/Abigail Severance’s ‘Evidence’”
For me, evidence is also about the politics and intimacies of care, and reflects the ways in which healing practices have been woven into [Julie] Tolentino’s artistic-activist praxis. It recalls the commitment to care at the height of the AIDS epidemic as an integrated, vital part of everyday life. It reflects a practice of care existing in conjunction with artistic practice, cultural production and sexual cultures, with these understood as part of HIV support work and community resistance and persistence. Cupping is also about memories, both bodily and psychic. It clears obstructions, motivates flow. It is a process that literally leaves evidence on the body. It indexes at the site of contact between two (or more) people engaged in care and connection. It marks much like kink play marks, as do many of the durational processes undertaken in Tolentino’s work. Along with the ritual of cupping, [Stosh] Fila and Tolentino’s corresponding medicine patches also conjoin them in healing. These layered forms of interconnection subtly yet powerfully assert the necessities of intimacy, touch and emotional presencing as integral to healing and caretaking. Care is asserted as a sensual act (although not always or exclusively so). evidence blurs distinctions between non-sexual and sexual intimacies.
Originally Published on Visual AIDS’ blog, April 14, 2015.