In collaboration with the Undetectable Flash Collective led by Avram Finkelstein, Visual AIDS coordinated an artist-led balloon thought cloud and public intervention about the HIV serostatus “undetectable” for the New Museum’s Ideas City. The theme of this year’s Ideas City Festival was The Invisible City. With this in mind, and deploying the logic of the festival environment, Visual AIDS distributed balloons asking participants “What is Undetectable?” to engage the public in dialogue about HIV and serostatus. Below are some of the public responses from this thought-provoking event.

More event pictures can be found here.


  • “We are synchronized. Now + Forever.’ --FGT”


  • “can undetectable folks transmit HIV?”


  • “Undetectable when treated at clinic. Test often protect yourself. Safe sex.”


  • “Personal goals.”


  • “We’re making progress on fighting HIV. Now let’s start fighting HIV stigma.”


  • “I saw five flying saucers when I was 6.”


  • “unseen, unkown”


  • “safe, hidden, under the radar”


  • “An unfinished dialogue”


  • “You give up looking”


  • “great”


  • “Hope for a cure”


  • “Amazng Medical Advances”


  • “Who gets to say I’m ’SAFE’ ”


  • “NOTHING!”


  • “Actual affordable access to health services + meds”


  • “Safer but net yet cured”


  • “LOVE”


  • “Cloak of invisibility”


  • “HOPE ’GOD’ ”


  • “Its important to understand”


  • “CHANGE”


  • “Nobody deserves HIV”


  • “How to care for HIV Active people who live under invisibility”


  • “Working class in the downtown.”


  • “What if I’m neg(ative)?”


  • “Depends on the detector”


  • “Neighbor Love”


  • “Everyone is everyone”


  • “You Never Know”


  • “HIV Negative?”


  • “Know you”


  • “Live the good life”


  • “Im HIV (negative) but never heard of this”


  • “Less likely to transmit--control”


  • “I think I need to be more informed”


  • “We figure this always happens to someone else. The problem is we’re all someone else too”


  • “How do I get undetectable”


  • “Inner feelings (and) suppressed emotions”


  • “Your thoughts”


  • “ENERGY”


  • “How do you stay undetectable”


  • “FUTURE”


  • “Unseen, normal”


  • “What if the meds make fighting cancer and hep C more difficult?”


  • “Undetectable means gaining control”


  • “Hard to see (w/o Visual Aids!)”


  • “Don’t have insurance”


  • “Shame”


  • “Am I just a number?”


  • “Depends on the detector”


  • “Otherwise unknown”


  • “Its about class”


  • “FREEDOM”


  • “MORE SEX!”


  • “This is everyone’s problem!”


  • “Under the radar.”


  • “How much does ’undetectable’ cost?”


  • “My dad is undetectable and he counsels others to learn their status”


  • “Stand together!”


  • “HIV--people need to care about HIV”


  • “Not there”


  • “Pause, Reflectons”


  • “Anyone can get HIV but who can get a cure for themselves?”


  • “Hidden in our society”


  • “Don’t you want it to be detectable?”


  • “Art support”


  • “Healthy”


  • “Thanks for get the message out! -Jenn, Family Immunology Clinic at Montefiore”


  • “We are all responsible!”


  • “Sexy friendly!”


  • -“Who do I talk to”


  • -“Cannot be seen”


  • “In between”


  • “Hope for the future.”


  • “To all my brothers and friends who lost their life.”


  • “Will anyone hear me?”


  • “Undetectable to who? When is invisibility desirable and why isn’t it?”


  • “Get tested--it is the best cure”


  • “Spreading awareness, engaging community!”


  • “We are the medicine”


  • “Its OK to be visible”


  • “Just be loving and understand(ing)”


  • “Non-narrative secret stories”


  • “Cant be traced”


  • “We need non-profit health care”


  • “Neither here nor there”


  • “Medicail is not a business”


  • “A whole lot of nothing”


  • “We need to be better educated”


  • “Accountability of government”


  • “Undetectable privilege”