General Idea


An acronym is a specific kind of abbreviation. It consists of the initial letters or syllables of other words which then form a new term,  often pronounced as one word. The acronym AIDS stands for „acquired immune deficiency syndrome“.

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)

The medical treatment for HIV and AIDS uses a combination of drugs to suppress the replication of the virus (see U=U), improving immune function and normalising the lifespan. Thus, ART can also have significant social implications by enhancing the quality of life and reducing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.


Stemming from Greek, the term ephemera denotes objects that are intended for one-time or temporary use. In the field of art, this often includes posters, unlimited prints on paper or by-products created during performances that are not designed for material longevity. Nevertheless, there are collections and archives dedicated to the preservation of ephemera.

Gestalt Psychotherapy

A psychotherapeutic approach that was developed in the mid-20th century. Gestalt therapy emphasises awareness of the present moment and the harmonious integration of thoughts, emotions and behaviours to achieve personal growth and self-understanding. It can be seen as a precursor to the currently popular framework of mindfulness. 


Heraldry is the field of knowledge dedicated to coats of arms. European coats of arms recall the form of medieval shields and can stand, for example, for families, associations, municipalities or states. The interpretation of the motifs, their history, set of rules and the use of coats of arms are some of the aspects to which heraldry is devoted.

Mail Art

Mail art, also known as correspondence art, is a movement and a genre that grew popular in the 1960s. Instead of making works for exhibition spaces, artists sent postcards, letters, parcels and later on faxes and emails that would contain drawings, poems and collages. Recording its journey, the traces, stamps and imprints that accumulated along the way became part of the work.


Multiples are serially produced artworks, oftentimes relying on industrial fabrication and mechanical reproduction. Due to lower production costs and selling prices compared to those of a unique copy, multiples allow for wider circulation and are considered as some of the most accessible artworks on the market. General Idea has produced multiples across various media, including posters, balloons, t-shirts and jewellery, which are often components of larger projects. These works use distribution strategies of retail shops and mass media to question consumerist culture, authorship and the status of the original. 

Gender nonconforming

The term refers to individuals whose gender identity, expression, appearance or behaviour does not align with societal norms or expectations related to the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender nonconforming presentations disrupt the dominant gender binary of male and female.


An ideology that upholds stereotypical male values, often reinforcing binary gender roles and patriarchal structures. Masculinism can emphasise dominance, aggression or male superiority. It may be understood as a reactionary countermovement to feminism, encompassing various stances, from seeking equal men's rights, for example in post-divorce child custody, to radical calls for abolishing women's and feminist rights.


Phalluses is the plural form of phallus and refers to shapes, objects and symbols that are reminiscent of a human penis, usually depicted erect. In different cultural and historical contexts, various attributions and meanings have been ascribed to the phallus, including notions of power and fertility.


The acronym PrEP stands for "pre-exposure prophylaxis", which means prevention of possible HIV contact. PrEP is a safer sex method in which HIV-negative people take medication to protect themselves from contracting HIV. The active ingredients of the drug prevent the virus from multiplying and entering the cells. In Germany, PrEP can be prescribed by certain doctors and is covered by health insurance.


Derived from the originally derogatory term queer, queerness has transformed into an inclusive, fluid concept and a self-affirming term. Activists among LGBTQIA+ communities have reclaimed it, notably during the Stonewall protests of 1969, through AIDS activism and eventually in the academic context of Queer Studies. It defies conventional gender and sexuality norms and the fixation of identity categories. Ongoing debates surround its usage across social, academic and cultural contexts.


A trope is an element or a convention of film, television and literature that is used as a storytelling device. Through the use of well-established situations or dynamics, the audience can easily relate to the story being told: a male hero whose actions are motivated by the death of a female love interest. A live audience laughing on command at the taping of a TV show. A simple misunderstanding that could be instantly resolved spiralling out of control. By following these tropes and relying on shared knowledge, a story can play with our expectations, even subvert them.

U=U (undetectable = untransmittable)

Today’s forms of treatment (see ART) can drastically change the experience of living with HIV – at least for those with access to health care. The viral load can be medicinally lowered to a point of not being detectable, which also makes the virus untransmittable. U=U (undetectable = untransmittable) has become an important message for destigmatising people living with and affected by HIV. Furthermore, recently developed safer sex methods like PrEP effectively expand the measurements for preventing an HIV-infection.


The ziggurat shape is based on a rectangular sacred structure built in ancient Mesopotamia. Two to seven terraced steps, decreasing in size, lead up to a platform. It is believed that small shrines once stood on the highest point, accessible only to a select few. Not only are ziggurats the possible forerunners of the Egyptian pyramids, they have also experienced a revival in Brutalist architecture since the 1970s.


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