The main character of ‘Positive’ is Martha. Martha is a mother, a grandmother, a retired teacher and HIV positive. She was infected by her husband 15 years ago; today she works as an activist. The project is a subjective interpretation of a life with HIV contradicting all stereotypes.
Martha has lived with HIV for 15 years. She was infected by her husband, Béla. The couple had never had a harmonic relationship. Béla often left Martha alone with the kids. Once, shortly after the change of the regime he left the family and fled to Western-Europe for a longer period of time. No one knew exactly where he went. Upon returning Martha asked Béla to have him tested for HIV as HIV was an issue often present in the press at that time. He went – he said. It is not known whether he told the truth or not; but soon after he was diagnosed with HIV. It also turned out, that Martha was infected, too. At first Martha wanted to kill her husband. Still, she stayed with him. She cared about him until the last moment. Béla died from AIDS 15 years ago.
At present Martha has worked as an activist; she launched the ‘HIV positive grandmother’ Facebook page where she regularly posts about the situation of HIV in Hungary. “I have always wished to become special” – says the main character of Positive – But I had never thought that something would happen to me that carries self-pity…I am now happy with my state as it is. It is now clear that I am able to cope with it, with the tasks, problems connected to it, and I can accept what this state brings to me as a plus. “
The images published at the website are parts of the subjective photo-diary that was projected during the exhibitions. The photo-diary follows the past 15 years of Martha’s life; following Martha’s voice, I re-enact and re-interpret real and imaginary scenes of the story. At the same time, in the exhibition place, Martha is watching her husband’s left objects. In the other video we can see dancing glasses of champagne; where Martha remembers her husband’s death and celebrates that she has outlived him even with one second.
Positive (2013-) is realised within the cooperation between Martha, Lilla Szász and the curator, Gyula Muskovics.
© Lilla Szász – Gyula Muskovics, 2015
Video editing: Barbara Ipsics
Special thanks to: József Mélyi, Emese Süvecz, Hedvig Turai, Tibor Várnagy
Note: The video can only be seen upon request and upon the approval of the main character, Martha. Should you be interested please send me an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2015: Positive – Gólya Community House, Budapest (Part of Off Biennale Budapest Program)
2015: Positive – Gallery Liget, Budapest