Public Programs And Events

Digital Memorials and Media Art Activism: Designing Digital Experiences for the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Digital Memorials and Media Art Activism: Designing Digital Experiences for the AIDS Memorial Quilt

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center
General Public 

"Epidemics, like wars, mark a generation for life."

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was created 2​7​ years ago as a work of community activism to protest the appalling lack of attention by the US health agencies to an increase in improbable fatalities ​among gay men in the United States.​  ​Its first inception unfolded in October 1987 on the National Mall in Washington DC as part of the March for Gay Rights; it included 1,920 Quilt panels.  ​In 2014, the Quilt ​now ​encompasses more than 48,000 panels, representing 60 countries and commemorating more than 93,000 names. It is the largest living memorial of its kind in the world.

The Quilt is also an "activist archive" of the late 20th century. The activities that gave rise to the Quilt in 1987 are part of the history of the campaign for gay and lesbian rights in the US. The Quilt literally stitches together a million memories, a million stories, a million lessons about the relationship between individual lives, public culture, and political activism.  In its textile form, it is an unwieldy archive.  If laid out in its entirety the Quilt would cover more than 1.3 million square feet. It weighs more than 34 tons.
 
Dean of the School of Media Studies, Anne Balsamo, presents a brief history of the creation of the Quilt as the context for a demonstration of three new digital experiences​ that are designed to extend viewing of the textile Quilt.  As examples of media art activism, these digital memorial applications were created to extend the reach of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and to augment the practices of cultural remembering. Dean Balsamo will explore how digital technologies might assist the transformation of communities of interest into communities of participation, enhance practices of cultural memory, and contribute to innovation in modes of archiving works of cultural heritage. 

This event is sponsored by the School of Media Studies as part of its weekly lecture series for "Understanding Media Studies."

The lecture will also be livestreamed at new.livestream.com/TheNewSchool/digital-memorials-media-art-activism​ during the event.

This event is featured in collaboration with "Reckoning with AIDS: The New School Events for World AIDS Day & the 25th Anniversary of Day With(out) Art.The New School demonstrates our commitment to ​the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS through a series of program​s​​ for​ World AIDS Day (December 1st)​.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the global Day With(out) Art.​ ​World AIDS Day is ​a time for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV​,​ and to commemorate people who have died.

​On a Day With(out) Art​, creative activism in the art world reveals the cultural devastation caused by HIV/AIDS. ​A series of exhibitions and events ​at The New School, ​on and around December 1st, will engage the community in AIDS awareness and action​​. ​Many programs this year will focus on arts activism.  Resource tables will also offer free information about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing. 

Click here for more information and a list of events for "Reckoning with AIDS: The New School Events for World AIDS Day & the 25th Anniversary of Day With(out) Art."



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