AIDS Memorial Quilt
The AIDS Memorial Quilt, now made up of 48,000 panels representing more than 94,000 victims, has outgrown the National Mall. Laid end to end, it would extend for 50 miles and require 33 days to view. During intermittent rain in late July, 2012, some 100 volunteers laid out and picked up thousands of panels daily during the XIX International AIDS Conference held in Washington D.C.
How should the public take in the magnitude of the homemade memorial, which continues to grow by a panel a day? How could a citizen find a specific panel within the thousands of blocks now available? How can people participate in the memorial? Professor Anne Balsamo of the University of Southern California, starting with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and then working with Microsoft Research Connections and the University of Iowa Digital Studio for the Public Humanities, has made the quilt accessible on desktop, tabletop, and mobile app. From concept to funding, the project took eight years. To access the site go to research.microsoft.com
A search for the piece of the quilt designed in honor of the late actor Rock Hudson, who died of AIDS in 1985, for example, produces 16 squares. Men named Rock Hudson died of AIDS in DeKalb, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Wallingford, Connecticut; and Essexville, Michigan. Third in the list is Rock Hudson of Hollywood.