Nancer Lemoins, “Iveseenanddonesmall” (2014). Silkscreen, 15x19

What is called AIDS is, for consciousness and for thought, a necessarily impossible object. --William Haver, The Body of This Death

And if memory encrypts what is lost in death, it also preserves the lost other and our libidinal attachment to it, although the conditions for the survival of love seem to be confusion and anxiety. --Sarah Brophy, Witnessing AIDS

The history, memory, and lived experience of AIDS have changed over the course of the last three decades, and so have the aesthetic practices and critical and cultural meanings tied to it. This issue of Drain invites theorists, artists, critics, writers and commentators to think alongside us to consider the ways by which the representation of AIDS has evolved and continues to evolve in the realm of aesthetic and artistic practice, to think what it means to remember and also consider the persistence and insistence of memory and commemoration as an always already, perhaps, built-in facet to the attempted representation of AIDS.

What might be the ethical, socio-political, and cultural stakes at hand in thinking memory, or commemoration, in the same instance as the aesthetic representation of AIDS? What might these artistic instances open up for with respect to dialogue, and thereby articulate, in their attempt to represent both the struggle to commemorate historical loss and the ever-present impulse to never forget these losses? How are artists, theorists and cultural producers taking these stakes into consideration in light of how the very lived experiences of AIDS change and evolve across racial, gendered, sexual, and classed divides and temporalities? Is it, in the final analysis, possible to think the “impossible” as such when it comes to AIDS?

Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2016.

Please send submissions to

This issue will be led by Ricky Varghese.