I'm in a mutually parasitic relationship with Gilead Sciences for the rest of my life and I don't want to be.

Meat processing table, anti-griddle, ice, artist's hair lost due to cost-related medication non-adherence

36 x 36 x 18 in.

2022

This sculpture is made of hair I lost as a side effect from stopping my HIV treatment due to issues with my insurance provider. Though I only ceased treatment for 4 weeks, I eventually lost about 1/4 of my hair. It’s a small price to pay considering the condition is fatal without Gilead’s pills. The US government currently pays for my $45,000 annual treatment (thanks to some incredible public health policymakers), however the same treatment costs just several hundred dollars elsewhere in the world. 

 

The chunk of ice in this image sits on an anti-griddle, traditionally used to freeze rolled ice cream. Over time, the top of the ice block begins to melt, however the bottom stays frozen. Eventually, the block reaches an equilibrium point in which it stops melting. This machine requires a constant supply of energy to keep the ice from melting. If unplugged, the block of hair and ice melts into a puddle in a few hours. This is a visual metaphor for the constant personal and bureaucratic energy that goes into the lifelong public health interventions necessary for managing HIV, and the devastation that can result from ceasing that effort.