Seventeen years ago, the ICI drew up the legal papers required for Federal incorporation as a non profit arts and cultural organization. Recently we were reviewing these papers for an internal audit and were reminded that our strong commitment to AIDS awareness was actually written into our bylaws. Here is an excerpt from the section titled PURPOSES:
2. To sponsor an annual event focusing attention on HIV disease for as long as AIDS continues to be a national and international crisis. This public event will educate the general public as to how the disease is culturally described and discussed and will allow an open forum for ideas and opinions about these methods.
3. To create, maintain, and made available to the public, a database containing the names of people who have died from AIDS and AIDS-related illness.
Overall, we have met our goals through an array of events on December 1. This year we’ll take to the streets with Forget Foucault.
Our database of AIDS deaths is relegated to binder notebooks containing page after page of NYT obituaries. Although the names are not available to our virtual supporters there is something poignant and memorable about the aging newspaper clippings. While their scumbled surfaces point to the duration of time since their passing, they also embody a palpable feeling of loss that might elude a strictly digital database.