This week, we explore how artists navigate disease, how disease can be both a stigma and an identity, and how artists both resist and embrace that identity even as it comes to define their work. We’ll listen to the audio diaries of multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992. We’ll also hear from author Sandy Allen, whose uncle Bob, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, mailed them a manuscript of the “true story” of his life, which Sandy has translated into a new book, A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, which questions our ideas on mental health. Andrew Leland discusses the #HowEyeSeeIt blindfold challenge, which pitted the ideologies of two different blindness organizations against each other.
David Wojnarowicz’s audio diaries are available as a three-LP vinyl release from the Reading Group record label and as a book, The Weight of the Earth, from Semiotext(e). Wojnarowicz’s art and music were the subject of a recent retrospective at the Whitney Museum. Lastly, you can read learn more about Sandy Allen’s book, A Kind of Mirraculus Paradise here.