The AIDS Quilt...Online

Around ASF Blog
Volume 1 / Entry 18
July 12, 2012

Hello friends,

Hopefully all of you have heard of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. A description from The NAMES Project Foundation website states, “Today, The AIDS Memorial Quilt is an epic, 54-ton tapestry that includes more than 48,000 panels dedicated to more than 94,000 individuals. It is the premiere symbol of the AIDS pandemic and the largest piece of community art in the world – a living memorial to a generation lost to AIDS and our most potent HIV prevention education tool.” The AIDS Memorial Quilt, managed by The NAMES Project, now totals 1.3 million square feet. It is now too large to be displayed anywhere in its entirety. Well, almost anywhere.

Earlier this week, I was made aware of the website AIDS Quilt Touch. It’s really a mobile web app that’s been developed by the University of Iowa Digital Studio for Public Humanities and the University of Southern California Public Interactives Research Team in conjunction with The NAMES Project Foundation. This website can hold and display the quilt in its entirety. And even better than that, the database is searchable by among others, either the name of the person being memorialized or by the entity that created the quilt. For instance, below is the quilt piece that I had the privilege to help create when I lived in Chicago and worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art. We created this piece as a part of “A Day Without Art” and memorialized those in our community who had succumbed to AIDS. Because we weren’t necessarily their family members, we decided to use their initials only.

I know I have several photos like this of my own, but they are long buried in some shoe box and I haven’t seen them in years. I was so excited to see this again. It brought back lots of memories. If you have a quilt square included, I suggest you try to find it. Some of the photos are not of very good quality and not everything is searchable but the app designers are working on that. If you can’t find your square, check back often.

In other AIDS Memorial Quilt news, beginning in just eight days and lasting for only four, the entire quilt will go on display in Washington, D.C., in several pieces at several sites across the city. If you have the wherewithal, or if you’re in our nation’s capital, I would recommend going to see as much of it as you can. I’ve only seen a few quarter panels in person and even those are moving by themselves. The AIDS Memorial Quilt seeks to breathe new life into the fight against AIDS with this display. Hopefully AIDS will be at the front of everyone’s minds again.

Thanks for reading!

Marc Montminy
Director of Communications and Public Relations

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