There’s certainly nothing to argue about with Piot’s imperative: “Now act!” Deb, if your book among other things is tracing the myriad ways in which “time” as both metaphor and material fact has indelibly marked the work of Derek, Felix, Stephen, et.al., then few phrases could be more on the nose, echoing down the years. (Among other reverberations, ACT UP’s national network acronym was of course ACT NOW!: AIDS Coalition to Network, Organize and Win.) Think how many times we’ve heard those words, said them, shouted them, bellowed them, repeated them to the point of platitude. Indeed, AIDS over two decades and six continents has been marked like a music score by this same recurring lament: Now act. Act. Now.
Though the “now” part has almost never been “acted” upon – big and small power brokers seem equally incapable of doing anything “now” – there has nevertheless been some acting: often begrudging, often too little, often too late, but nevertheless. Over time, through time, people have acted, continued to act. Except of course, like Felix’s clocks, when their batteries, when their time runs out.