STONES & WATER WEIGHT responds to the need for new interpretations of HIV+ people. Mykki Blanco is portrayed in tasks that test the limits of the body and physical stress and the boundaries of normative health. STONES & WATER WEIGHT is an exercise in how societies perceive the fragilities of those who survive with the virus. In this era of globalized fitness culture through the use of social media, "looking healthy" matters much more than actually being healthy. Using endurance as the motivation for the performance, the video creates a new perception of HIV+ people as strong and resilient. Research references include the Atlas myth, the god of endurance that holds the earth and the skies over his shoulders, as well as the never ending climb of the Sisyphus myth.
Commissioned in 2017 as part of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, a program of seven videos prioritizing Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS.
︎ Artist Statement
︎ Uri McMillan on STONES & WATER WEIGHT
About the artist
Mykki Blanco is a writer and international recording artist. Blanco found fame first as a fearless noise rap poet publishing the book "From The Silence Of Duchamp To The Noise Of Boys.” Blanco is known as one of hip hop’s queer pioneers amassing a vast global following with a savvy and savage social media output. Mykki is hailed online as a digital warrior princess who rules across the underground music scene with mixtapes like Gay Dog Food, cult hits like Kingpinning and sensational videos like Coke White, Starlight, The Initiation, Wavvy, and Haze Boogie Life. Everything Blanco has ever released has been razor sharp, ahead of its time and sometimes deliciously far out. Blanco has toured with Björk, recorded with Tricky and Basement Jaxx. In 2016 Blanco released "MYKKI" her debut album to critical praise. She has also been featured in The New York Times; on the covers of Gay Times as well as The Village Voice; and in Time Magazine, where she discussed what it means to be a musician living openly with HIV. Blanco lives and works internationally, often in Lisbon, Portugal.