A ROLLERCOASTER IN SPRING 2020
Due to the impact of Covid-19, like everybody else in the world, the Atlas-team was suddenly caught up in a rollercoaster.
Was it still feasible to take the Atlas stories to San Francisco? Atlas had planned to build the grand Exhibition “I will speak, I will speak!” and stage documentary events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) a community-based arts institute with great spaces opposite the Moscone Center (the location of the AIDS 2020 World Aids Conference). And Atlas would have loved to have taken their community-based stories (in close cooperation with the Bay Area’s HIV/AIDS communities and the Local Planning Group) to YBCA as well.
At the beginning of April, it was announced that the AIDS 2020 conference would be organized as a Virtual conference. Although Atlas saw this coming and for a while it felt like all the energy had been sucked out of them, they soon started to draft new project ideas based on different scenarios which they shared with their various partners. Atlas still held onto the possibility that they could fulfill their program at YBCA in a ‘6-feet society’ manner. But as April came to an end, Atlas had to let go of this idea too.
During April Atlas found new energy, got new ideas, saw new possibilities, and recognized the need to produce new stories in the context of Covid-19. They adjusted to the situation and got creative again. As a community-based project, Atlas can use their experience of overcoming the HIV-epidemic. Atlas got a great push from their main sponsor Gilead Sciences, who immediately confirmed their support for Atlas2018 and the new Atlas Virtual project plan. And Atlas is incredibly happy to have been selected to be part of the Global Village Virtual (part of AIDS 2020 Virtual) which will bring them a digital surrounding and connect us to a worldwide audience.
For Atlas Virtual graphic designer Adrian Silvestri-Chyle has created a great new logo. Adrian about this new logo: “In our Atlas2018 logo I used a symbol representing the HIV-virus. For our Atlas Virtual logo, I used two symbols, representing the HIV and Covid-19 virus. The overlap between those two refers to the new stories we currently make: living with HIV in times of Covid-19”.
HIV AND COVID-19
We have been confronted worldwide by a new virus Covid-19. A virus that has claimed many victims in a short time and something that is keeping us all in its clutches.
For many in the HIV community it feels like history is repeating itself. Just as we are getting the horror of AIDS in many countries under control, our lives are once again being redefined by a potentially deadly virus. This often creates a range of intense, diverse emotions and feelings. With ‘HIV in times of Covid-19’ the Atlas team makes you hear and see how Covid-19 is thought about and lived with within the HIV community.
But a small group of us has been affected for the second time by this calamity. They are not only infected with HIV but also with Covid-19. What does it mean if you have to deal with both these violent viruses at the same time?! How do you arm yourself against that? Physically and mentally.
In this section of ‘HIV and Covid-19’, you will find the first series of stories about men and women who have had to do just that.
LIVING WITH HIV AND LIVING THROUGH COVID-19 IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EPIDEMIC HOTSPOT.
Atlas met Daan and Louis, a lovely couple from the south of the Netherlands. HIV plays a role in their relationship and both contracted a severe Covid-19 infection.
Now making a fast recovery, they were very willing to share their story with Atlas. They live in one of the hardest hit areas in the Netherlands and both work in the funeral industry. Having been exposed to Covid-19 in their professional lives, it suddenly hit them personally. Atlas had a great day with them and were impressed by their intense and multi layered story.
This was Atlas’ first trip for a while now that the lock down in the Netherlands is loosening up. Filming Louis and Daan, sharing emotional and unprecedented times so personally. Two new heroes !
The result you will be able to see on the live stream, 6-10 July 2020.
LOUIS AND DAAN
Louis and Daan are a couple who have only known each other for a few years. Their relationship is a heart-warming example of new love and early stages of happiness. The fact that Louis was HIV positive and Daan not, was not an obstacle to love.
Louis and Daan both work in funeral care in Brabant, the epicentre of the first major Covid-19 outbreak in the Netherlands. Both became infected with the Covid-19 virus. They lived in quarantine for a month. Ill and with all the worries and emotions you have to deal with in such a situation. Fortunately, they are doing better now and can once again indulge themselves with all the plans and dreams that come with new love.
Photos by Vincent van den Hoogen
The film of Daan & Louis
In recent weeks Atlas made a touching short-film with Louis en Daan, a nice couple living in Brabant, the Netherlands.
Louis is hiv-positive for some years now. But this spring bad luck struck again; they both had to deal with Covid-19 as well. What that meant and how they managed to deal with it you can see in one of the new films made for Atlas-Virtual that will go on line 6th-10th of July, as part of AIDS2020.
The film of Daan & Louis : https://vimeo.com/430848357
Live stream, from 6-10 July 2020 : http://www.atlas2018.org/livestream
Louis has been so happy to participate in this, giving something in return to Atlas and to all fellow hiv-positive men and women, knowing what Atlas’s work has meant to him in accepting his HIV diagnosis. He is proud of Daan supporting him !
Both Daan and Louis have already received an incredible amount of reactions to previous announcements, including indirectly, which is already clear how the oil spill spreads. Fantastic! Proud! Grateful!
Let LOVE rule !
Louis and Daan wish to express their great thank for all the care, love, energy and time to : Erwin Kokkelkoren, Bert Oerle, Willem Aerts, Wilko van Oosterhout, Vincent van den Hoogen and sponsor GILEAD.