In his film Listen to this, Tom Rubnitz, weaves narration, image, and a form of temporality, dislocated from ‘real time’, into a video where artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz’s loss and anger is palpable. Unfinished at the time of both artists’ deaths in 1992, Wojnarowicz sits alone facing the camera, infected with a plague (AIDS) that prevents him from abstracting his own mortality to some point in the distant future. He speaks to the present and in the present. Fragments of popular mass culture – Madonna, the Newscaster, a military helicopter – cut through Wojnarowicz’s impassioned performance, acting as visual prompts for the “diseased society” he has contracted.
Rubnitz constructs the work utilizing the aesthetic framework of the non-site of television, the dominant vessel for mass culture. He marks time and place through Wojnarowicz’s visceral attacks on Western power structures, and commonly held conceptions of the past and present. Listen To This is not an obituary, nor a memorial but a furious attack on an ineffective, homophobic HIV/AIDS policy, the consequences of which we still live with today.