X-TRA Forum #2: Patrick Staff presents CLEAN NEEDLES NOW & NOW

X-TRA Forum #2

CLEAN NEEDLES NOW & NOW is an evening-length performance-screening event by artist Patrick Staff, presented as part of the X-TRA Forums series. Continuing the format of Staff’s previous performance-screenings, such as “Uniform Smok” presented at Chisenhale Gallery, London in 2015, and “Missives” at the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver, 2016, the evening will present a series of the artist’s moving image works, music and text within an installation.

This is the second of the X-TRA Forums, a series of programs using the 20-year archive of contemporary art quarterly X-TRA as a springboard. The event takes its inspiration from Dont Rhine’s essay “Below The Skin: Aids Activism and the Art of Clean Needles Now,” included in X-TRA Magazine issue Volume 15 Number 3, published in 2013. The article establishes a history of artist’s involvement in Clean Needles Now (CNN), a needle exchange initiative that was formed as an official committee within ACT UP Los Angeles, drawing particular attention to the role of artists and their strategies in its early years of operation.

Rather than re-tell or reproduce the history traced in the article, Clean Needles Now & Now seeks to explore the permeability of boundaries; transmission and carriers; cleanliness and immunity; the sharing, use, and re-use of images and practices; occupied territories of the body; the toxic and the intoxicated. For many of the organizers of CNN, in service of harm reduction the aim of the project was to “bring the needle out of the shadows.” Though this speaks to their aims in direction action, a poem quoted at the top of the article speaks to another side of the situation: “When the cap is removed its silver needle scintillates promises, inconstancy, ambiguity.” – Samuel R. Friedman, “The Needle”

The X-TRA Forums is made possible with support from Pasadena Art Alliance, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and NAVEL.