Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The AIDS Quilt: Another Dimension :: Free AIDS Essays

The AIDS Quilt: Another Dimension "Jones originally envisioned the AIDS quilt as a message that would call upon the conscience of the nation." (Sturken 186) "The AIDS quilt raises the question of the purpose of mourning. For whom do we mourn when we mourn? The foregrounding of the needs of the living and the creation of a community through the quilt point to mourning not simply as a process for remembering the dead and marking the meaning and value of their lives but also an attempt to create something out of that loss." (Sturken 199) Although the AIDS quilt is thought of by most to be a mourning device, there are in fact panels in the quilt that actually oppose the idea of mourning. In this section of the quilt, one out of the eight sections clearly stands out. It is one that reads: "Terry Sutton; He hated this quilt†¦and so do we." This panel, surrounded by the seven more traditional panels shows how although, on a broad level, the quilt is thought of as a non-activist mourning attempt, there are definite aspects of activism that show through despite discourses popularly associated with the quilt. The other panels pictured here typify the finds of panels that are made for the victims of AIDS. "In memory of†¦" and "we will remember†¦" are some of the more common inclusions in the panels. Terry Sutton’s panel is incredibly significant because juxtaposed against the other panels it shows an opposite reaction to the quilt. It illustrates Sutton’s hatred of what other victims and families think is an amazing coping device. More often than not, the families and friends who decide to make panels for AIDS victims think it is a wonderful idea. Although the creators of the Sutton panel are certainly in the minority, creating a panel of this nature makes an intense impact. The "ACT UP’ t-shirt that is included in Sutton’s panel is most likely a symbol of his involvement with the well-known activist group, ACT UP. The letters stand for AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. They define their organization as follows: "ACT UP is a diverse non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We advise and inform. We demonstrate. We are not silent." Because ACT UP is a well-known activist group, the fact that Terry Sutton’s panel associates him with the group shows the audience his feelings toward the idea of making a quilt as a strategy to fight AIDS.

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