The purpose of my annotated media gallery is to inform my audience about why I used the pictures and illustrates in my final research. Each picture included in my research has a distinct purpose. I want to show my audience that each picture was thoughtfully picked and serves as a relevant illustrator to the view.
The picture above was the first picture used in my introduction. This picture was taken inside the NAMES Gallery Atlanta. When introducing my audience to the idea of the NAMES Gallery, I found it imperative to show my audience what the gallery looked like. As someone who once knew nothing of the gallery, I wanted to start of my research ensuring that my audience, colleagues, and instructors would have a firm grasp on what the NAMES Gallery looked like and where the gallery was located.
My second illustration used for my introduction was a media gallery that illustrates the panel of David Feinberg and Dr. Rob Eichberg. My goal was to inform the audience about the broad topic of the NAMES Gallery and then go more in-depth and segway into introducing the panels which my research related to. I wanted to include the entire block of each panel in my research because it illustrates the idea that out of many one individual legacy can be told. The panel of David Feinberg had very minimal color and artistic value yet had a lot of significance. On the other hand, the panel of Rob Eichberg had a crisp orange background that seemingly brought the panel to life. I wanted my audience to pay attention to the scale of each block and then understand that from a block of quilt came a panel that my research was based off.
A Closer Look at Feinberg
I started off the second part of my research with a picture of David Feinberg’s panel. I wanted to introduce my audience to the panel itself. While the Feinberg panel isn’t necessarily filled with obvious detail, it serves as a channel for communication. At first glance, the observer might see a white, pale, almost barren piece of quilt. However, this panel is anything but bare. While minimal in color it alludes to many of Mr. Feinburg’s interests. The mere essence of white alludes to literature and writing. With four lines the run right to left and left to right, two pink margins on the left side, and one big piece of white bare enter where David’s name goes; it could be inferred that the background of this panel represents a piece of bare classical notebook paper. The background is made up of pure white cloth that is soft yet texturized to the touch. The panel is minimal but has a lot of significance. The name “David Feinberg” is in grand capital black letters. His name is the centerpiece of the panel. Below his name is the phrases “eighty-sixed” and “spontaneous combustion”. Those phrases also appear in black but almost in a lesser shade of black than the name itself. Finally, we reach the red “A+” in the top right-hand margin. This is the only bold color on the panel. However, the A+ is significant because the red almost looks like a marker type print. The red is slightly smeared compared to the definite black color. The observer can start to see pieces of a puzzle. As the phrase “Writer” and “A+” appear on the quilt, one could assume that Mr. Fienburg was a writer, possibly even an author.
The second illustration I used derived from my own research into Feinberg. The novel Queer and Loathing was on of Fieberg’s own personal publications. I wanted to show my audience the Feinberg’s use of literature as a platform for activism was something to be taken seriously. Using Queer and Loathing as an example of activism was intentional, as the book looks at the life of a character with AIDS, it is important for the audience to understand what Fieberg was achieving through his novels, and what his message was. The use of a book cover is also telling, as the bold capital letters illustrate a message of importance and urgency. Feinberg’s novel was used as a means for illustrating his channel of a push for social change.
My third illustration in the second part of my research was the front cover of the book Eighty-Sixed. Once again, I wanted the audience to take Feinberg’s work seriously and draw their attention to his main platform of activism. The book has many short stories in it, and if oddly find the book cover to reflect that. From the many faces of the same individual, Feinberg was trying to communicate a plethora of stories within a novel. Using his book covers gives the audience insight into the content of his novels in an indirect way. I wanted to show that Feinberg was using novel by novel to push for AIDS awareness. Each novel contained different stories. Feinberg was rewriting the narrative through is own publications.
The purpose of using the graph above from the CDC was to show that AIDS was an issue that turned into proportions of an epidemic. The graph above shows “Estimated AIDS incidence, deaths, and prevalence, by the quarter-year of diagnosis/death-United State, 1981-2000.” The first thing this chart illustrates is the time period in which Feinberg was doing most of his work towards raising AIDS awareness. In addition, I wanted to illustrate that in the late 1980’s AIDS was a massive problem that wasn’t receiving attention. This chart itself represents the proportions of opposition Feinberg was trying to bring attention to. From the graph, I wanted my audience to know that AIDS was an issue that was extremely raw in numbers during the 1980’s, that cases of AIDS were reaching unprecedented numbers, and that death was occurring all over the United States due to AIDS.
I ended my second part of my final analysis with a picture of Feinberg. My intent was pretty direct. I simply wanted my audience to remember the face of Feinberg. While the name Feinberg has most likely stuck with anyone who has made it up to reading this far into my final research, I wanted the face of Feinberg to stick as well. Too often we hear names of fallen soldiers, or names of murder victims and never see their faces. I didn’t want Feinberg to just another name. I wanted individuals to leave my section portion of my final analysis with a clear picture of who Feinebrrg was, what he stood for, what his impact was on AIDS awareness, and what he looked like. I wanted to put a face to the name because Feinberg worked too hard not to be recognized in his entirety.
A Closer Look at Eichberg
When introducing Rob Eichberg to my audience, I wanted them to see the block of quilt as a whole. I found that this block of quilt stood out in terms of artistic aspects. However. it is the burn dark orange that drew my attention to the panel of Eichberg. Even amongst many panels, I wanted my audience to see that the panel of Eichberg was eye drawing. With a basic understanding of what the panel of Eichberg looked like, I felt my research had a solid basis to stand on.
Taking a deeper look into the attitudes of a society was one of the major points research I wanted to investigate. I knew that no assertion of mine could be fully completed without the backing of solid evidence. I used a Gallup public poll and was able to capture insight on public opinion of same-sex relationships from 1979 to 2011. As my research concluded that a shift of attitudes towards same-sex couples took place in the United States, I found that this public opinion poll illustrates just that- a shift. From 1978, with only 43% of the individuals surveyed supporting same-sex couples, all the way to 2011, with 64% of individuals surveyed supporting same-sex couples, a shift in attitudes is clearly illustrated through this poll. I find that the evidence collected in this poll served my research well and provided support to my claim that activism created social change over decades.
As my research focused primarily on Eichberg’s co-founding of National Coming Out Day, I found that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres’s story illustrated the cause in which Feinberg was advocating for all along. Ellen’s iconic TIMES Maganize cover is when she came out to the world. Facing intense public black lash, DeGeneres had to be bold, she herself used her platform as a way to carry on the legacy Eichberg. Eichberg dreamed of a world where being gay wasn’t an issue. I found the DeGeneres’s coming out story inspired a world and started a wave of empowerment. Even today, her story holds relevant, as former President Barack Obama awarded her the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, without Eichberg’s platform of acceptance, individuals such as Ellen might have never reached a point in which they could have confidently stood up and come out to their communities.
I wanted to highlight this quote that I found on the Eichberg panel as a tribute to the core of his work. Today, Eichberg’s message might not seem radical but back during the 1980’s and 1990’s, society was not welcoming towards same-sex couples, and often times spewed violent and hateful rhetoric towards same sex indivduals. I wanted my audience to understand that Eichberg has a message of love. I find that the quote on his panel itself is a call to action. Eichberg calls us all to show love, compassion, and come to find the radiant energy within us in order to cultivate a more accepting and empowering society.
Once again, I found that Eichberg had a message, a purpose, a motivation to bring about social change. I wanted to give a face to his name. While the name Eichberg is now familiar to most of my audience, his face brings a humanistic quality to his work. Eichberg lived with AIDS in the most selfless way, giving back to his community, starting initiatives that encouraged empowerment within gay individuals, and reminding us that all we have to give and receive is love.
You Write History
As my research concluded, I wanted to pay tribute to a living breathing example of local activism. Through the AIDS Quilt, the legacies of countless individuals live on today. Atlanta is home to the NAMES Gallery, and it is the gallery the serves as a safe haven for the stories and triumphs of individuals who came before us. According to the AIDS Memorial website, “The mission of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Archive Project is to preserve the powerful images and stories contained within The Quilt while expanding our AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts.” The picture above is powerful in the sense that each bulk of quilt represents a life lost too soon. While the panels of the quilt are shocking and saddening, it also brings a sense of hope. We have the power to cultivate change. We must honor our past, remember today, and work towards a better and brighter future.