An AIDS Quilt For The Internet Age (Plus, Celebrities!)

You’re probably familiar with the AIDS Quilt, the massive 54-ton piece of crowdsourced community art that travels the country. Made up of 46,000 three-inch-by-six-inch blocks of fabric, it’s a powerful memorial to the ravages of the AIDS epidemic.

But the quilt, being so large, doesn’t travel much. And sewing, let’s be honest, isn’t for everyone. What is for everyone? The Internet. Which is why on World AIDS Day this year ONE and (RED) launched their (2015)Quilt, an online project that approximates the original quilt–with a much lower bar to entry–and hopefully garners attention toward (RED)’s goal of ending transmission of AIDS from mother to children by 2015.

Anyone can go online and design a panel with pre-loaded designs. You can also upload your own and include pictures from Facebook. Along with your square, you’re asked if you want to commit to buying a RED product, joining ONE, or making some other commitment toward ending AIDS.

Because it’s ONE, a lot of celebrities have gotten in on the cause, and because they’re celebrities, they’ve mostly chosen to use their own images as their quilt squares. Above, you can see some of the squares regular folks designed, as well as entries from luminaries like Justin Bieber, Zach Galifianakis, and Ellen Degeneres.

The AIDS Quilt is an incredibly powerful reminder of what AIDS did to a large portion of our country. Can an online quilt–made with patches thrown together from your Facebook wall–hold the same meaning? Doubtful. But if it gets the Facebook generation involved in finishing the fight against AIDS, it might be a reasonable trade-off.MC