Forbes (04.13.12) - Friday, April 27, 2012
The 91,000-name AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest public art
display of its kind, is being digitized so that it can be
viewed in its entirety.
Images of the quilt's 47,000 panels have been sewn together
virtually using Microsoft Surface, an enhanced commercial
computing platform. Viewers of the 60-inch-wide, interactive,
touch-screen table can see the quilt, totaling 1.3 million
square feet, in its entirety.
The first version of the table will be on display during the
Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 27-July 8. On July 20,
some physical quilt sections will be laid out on the National
Mall - the whole quilt is too large to fit. Four interactive
tables will be placed around the Mall for viewing.
"The idea is that you use the table not as a substitute for
looking at the textile panels. You still look at the physical
panels - they're richer than any digital experience. But what
our table will allow you to do is search for a particular one.
And also get a sense of the scale," said project lead Anne
Balsamo, professor of interactive media and communication and
senior research fellow at the University of Southern
California's Annenberg Innovation Lab.
Viewers also will have the opportunity to add their own
reflections, thanks to a mobile application Balsamo is
building. "If you walk by a panel that really moves you, you
can type in the panel number, go to the digital page, and
leave a remembrance," she said. "We want to give people a way
to get into the stories of the quilt."