This essay is a methodological intervention combining the double meaning of “finding AIDS” as an archival technology of information retrieval and navigational network for AIDS debris. The author principally examines the paper scrap illustrations of late Chicano avant-gardist Mundo Meza, a critical figure in East Los Angeles performance art and yet little known due to his AIDS-related death in 1985. By positing “queer detritus” as a mode of analysis, this essay finds Meza through his residues in divergent textual, visual, and physical conditions. In 2001 his collaborator Robert “Cyclona” Legorreta created a vernacular finding aid consisting of paper remnants. Through weighty annotations, he constitutes Meza's bodily remains in discard. The author argues that Legorreta empowers the scrap, necessitating critical questions over what state of record is necessary to articulate an artist's life. In turn, provenance, fonds, and evidence must be redefined for an “archival body” wrought by AIDS devastation.
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1 May 2015
Robb Hernández; Drawn from the Scraps: The Finding AIDS of Mundo Meza. Radical History Review 1 May 2015; 2015 (122): 70–88. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2849540
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