In Plain Sight

As part of the ongoing History Moves project, I worked with Communication Design students at the University of Cincinnati in collaboration with the women of WIHS Chicago to present these women’s stories as a public and collective history. The exhibition, titled “In Plain Sight,” shows that women living with HIV have moved from the margins of what was once a deadly epidemic to become survivors and history makers. In the 15-week studio, students worked with existing materials from the History Moves project, including audio files of oral history interviews, transcripts of those interviews, plus images and documents provided by the women and digitized by researchers. In addition, small student teams conducted their own secondary and primary research on themes related to the women’s narratives, including relationships between HIV/AIDS and addiction, poverty, racial discrimination, and other forms of structural inequality. Students translated all of these historical materials and their own research into a pop-up exhibition that also considers many forms of digital media logic in analog forms. There are data visualizations in the form of the orange cards issued to patients at Cook Co. hospital (a powerful element of material culture from the research), there are site specific indications such as the maps that show where high populations of HIV exist within the current host city of the exhibition, and a wall for visitor thoughts and feedback. The center column of the space houses the audio, so visitors can listen to the women’s stories first-hand—in their own voices and words. This mobile exhibition debuted at the College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning at the University in December 2015, and continues to travel, currently in Chicago. University of Cincinnati School of Design Students: Kimberly Berk, John Cardosi, Patrick Dierker, McKenna Fryman, Danielle Grimes, Mykala Hayes, Joshua Hill, Lindsey Kincaid, Alex Kirschner, Kara Lam, Elizabeth Maffey, Ramey Morris, Stephanie Schmidt, Theresa Ware, Skylar Wells, Clinton Wray. Instructor: Matthew Wizinsky

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