logo design by Lawrence A. Hall
Some of the most memorable experiences of my time at RISD were the collaborative projects that I was fortunate enough to be involved in. I worked with a group of students to run a benefit for 2006's World AIDS Day at RISD. My main portion was to create an interactive art installation for the event. The main goal of the installation project was to communicate the scale of the world epidemic, but without making the viewer feel completely helpless.
The structural aspect of the installation was a large freestanding panel that was attention-grabbing without being overwhelming. It presented the information simply: "40,000,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS. What will you do?" At the base of the panel was a pile of little pillows. Each pillow was printed with the "Fight Aids" logo on one side and a practical way to help fight HIV/AIDS on the other. The tips were: get tested, fund relief, fund research, educate yourself, have safer sex, vote-lobby-rally, volunteer, and talk about it. A handout accompanying the installation provided further details into each of these tips. A poster (looking silly propped up on a chair, but doing its job anyhow!) suggested ways to use the fabric pillows.
The pillows were arranged in a pile representing the problem that would diminish as each person took one of the tips away. I painted the shadow of the pile onto the panel behind it, so that as the pile grew smaller and smaller over the week there was a way to measure the progress against the original pile. The installation remained in the 15 West lobby for the week following the event, and served as a prompt and reminder for student housing occupants, staff, RISD library users, and Portfolio Cafe visitors.