Rattlesnake in a Moving Car: Life with HIV began as a personal quest to understand why I am still alive and healthy with HIV after all these years (now 32 and counting). In the process, it grew to encompass the diverse stories of 20 longtime HIV-positive individuals.

The title is inspired by one project participant who compared living with HIV to driving with a rattlesnake in the car. The challenge is to keep the snake calm and contained in the passenger seat where it won’t cause harm.

I recorded the oral histories of 20 individuals as I drew their portraits. For this multimedia installation, a sound system plays excerpts from those recordings throughout the space.
A sculptural framework of metal surrounds the portraits and is inscribed with the participants' words, linking them together. While the rattlesnake pattern is repeated on each metal segment, the different metals distinguish the unique paths each HIV survivor has taken within that common journey.

 

drawing detail

The portfolio of images below is a sample of various elements and views of the Rattlesnake project at different venues.