AIDS Memorial Quilt: The Digital Experience

This summer MIC is involved in an exciting and culturally significant new project: the creation of digital, interactive experiences to augment the commemorative viewing of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC. MIC co-founder Ioana Literat will be on the ground in Washington as the Project Manager of this initiative. The project is a collaboration between the Public Interactives Research Team (led by Anne Balsamo) at the University of Southern California (USC), the NAMES Project Foundation in Atlanta, GA, and the Digital Studio for the Public Humanities at the University of Iowa, under the direction of artist Jon Winet.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a unique work of international ARTS ACTIVISM that reflects the worldwide scope and personal impact of the AIDS pandemic:

  • The textile Quilt is composed of 48,000 individual PANELS that commemorate more than 91,000 names.
  • The size of the physical Quilt measures more than 1.3 million square feet. If laid out in its entirety, it would cover more than 29 acres of land.
  • It would take a visitor more than 33 days to view every panel—spending only 1 minute at each panel.  
  • It is the largest LIVING MEMORIAL of its kind in the world.

The year 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Quilt. In July 2012, it will be laid out—in its entirety—on the Mall of Washington for the first time since 1996. It will take four days (July 21-25) to display all 48,000 panels.

We know that not everyone who has an interest in the AIDS Memorial Quilt can make the trip to Washington, DC this summer.  Moreover, the entire Quilt has grown so large that all the panels cannot be viewed in one session.

Therefore, we have designed a mobile web app called AIDS QUILT TOUCH  ( that enables people to search for a specific name on a panel and to contribute comments to a Digital Guest Book. For visitors in Washington DC this summer, this application will also enable them to locate the display of a specific panel when it is laid out on the National Mall.

In addition to smartphones, the application will be available on several Microsoft Surface tables on location at the National Mall. It is also available online, as a web app, at

We consider the development of the AIDS QUILT TOUCH mobile web app an appropriate use of digital technologies in the service of cultural good.  The aim is NOT to replace or interfere with the experience of viewing the textile Quilt, but to augment that experience and to extend the opportunity to view the Quilt to people all over the world through on-line access.

After the Quilt 2012 events, the AIDS QUILT TOUCH mobile web app will continue to serve as a portal that enables people to browse the entire collection of Quilt panels, to read the many stories of the Quilt, to trace the travels of any single panel, and to participate in crowdsourcing information about individual panels.

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The Other Side Film Festival

M.I.C. is organizing the first Immigrant Film Festival in Queens, NYC, from the 23 to the 28th of July. The Other Side Film Festival will be showcasing films about and by immigrants in New York City. We will host talks about the current challenges of the immigrant community. As part of the festival we will also be offering free workshops on animation, photography and stop-motion.

We are launching the Festival with a workshop led by activist photographer Steve Cagan on the 13, 14 and 15 of June. In order to enroll please send an email to momentosde.cultura@gmail or call 347 323 1758

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Visiting My Roots!

June grew up as part of a Chinese family in Malaysia. Her mother tongue is Mandarin, she celebrates Chinese holidays and identifies as Chinese. But June had never been to China before. In this video MIC accompanies June in her first visit to China.

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EL Tren de Paja

Matias Britos travels from Argentina to China for the first time. He gives an interesting insight into China’s diversity and his experience traveling together with 28 students from across the world.

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Once Upon a Time in Kyoto!

In this animation, MIC reports from Ningxia province in
northwest China. This piece takes a close look at a very specific
environmental initiative implemented in developing countries by the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — the
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. We explore the origins of
the CDM and trace down to a particular CDM project in China to look at
its social and environmental impact.  The question arises – does green
living, require green awareness?

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The Other Half at Ruili

Vodpod videos no longer available.

M.I.C has joined the Border Statement: China-Burma (Myanmar) Community Arts Initiative. Border Statements utilizes contemporary art practice  – performance, photography, video, sculpture, painting, bookmaking, public art, and music – as alternative cultural preservation and public/peer education strategies for citizen engagement in marginalized communities. Their primary initiative is located on the China side of the China-Burma border, where discrimination against ethnic minorities, outward migration and human trafficking, drug trafficking and incarceration, and the AIDS epidemic results in young people growing up without adequate parental guidance or community support.

Last week we joined The Other Half. This theater/circus company based out of London came as special guests to perform and conduct a series of workshops as part of the Border Statement initiative. The community at the China-Burma border has had the opportunity to work with photographers, hip-hop artists and painters. But this was the first time that skilled laugh and circus masters had come to the village to spread laughter. The men, women and children enjoyed having a laugh- British style-learned how to juggle and built the biggest human pyramid in Yunnan province. The participants closed the two-day workshops with an amazing performance showcasing their learned skills at break dancing and acrobatics.

It was a pleasure to document such an active community and experience the talent of veteran performers and mentors. It was particularly bizarre and hilarious to see the Other Half breaking with the village’s routine as they strolled down the dirt roads dressed in the strictest British garment  and offered people tea. The villagers were taken by surprise in the middle of their afternoon nap.

Expect the video soon! And look out for more updates on our documentation of artists working with the Border Statement initiative.


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Zain Alimohamed talks about his experience in China

As part of our documentary Whose China? we have created a blog in which young adults from across the globe talk about their experience while traveling  across northern China. Read Zain’s point of view bellow, and if you want to check out  other student’s adventures visit the website

China, and my encounters there, continue and will continue to have a significant impact on my life. Between observing first hand and with full force Chinese culture, language and society and meeting and living with students from all over the world China YLC was an invaluable experience.
Days spent exploring Guyuan and nights at the night market remain fond memories and compelling invitations to return to China, which I certainly intend to do. Beyond the exposure to Chinese culture and people, the other students made the trip even more important. I was able to make friends with people for whom I have a great deal of respect. The friendships were incredibly strong considering the amount of time spent together, I suppose being thrown into a world vastly different from our own has that effect.
perhaps my most memorable experience was speaking with my host family (in broken, broken Chinese) and being able to get my questions across and learning about their lives first hand was remarkable. I also had the added dimension of sharing religion with the people of the village. I was amazed to see how similar their practices were to those of the rest of the Muslim world considering how isolated China has been from it. I would like to add that the food in Guyan=Fei chang hao!
My trip to China has also become a major talking point with new people I meet at university, people are very curious about China and how a foreigner views it after having been there. I consistently tell them, don’t bother learning french (sorry Constance) China will be the next superpower!
I sometimes feel nostalgic about our experience and hope we can one day return and continue our journey.
Hope everyone is doing well!

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