On World AIDS Day, lines selected by artist Jenny Holzer from Paul Monette‘s poem “Here” blinked across an LED screen attached to a panel truck parked just outside the New York City AIDS Memorial Park in the West Village. Behind it, four more identical vehicles — all bearing different phrases, including AIDS statistics and excerpts from Wallace Steven’s poem “The Snow Man” — lined up to form a fleet of moving words.
The installation, a visual representation of the history, sorrow, endurance and ongoing struggle associated with the AIDS epidemic, was created by Holzer as part of “LightTheFight,” a ceremony honoring World AIDS Day and the launch of the NYC AIDS Memorial Arts and Education Initiative.
Following the ceremony, which featured a poetry reading by Jericho Brown, a speech by New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and a performance by the West Village Chorale, the panel-trucks made their way around the city, stopping at historically significant sites like the LGBT Community Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Times Square.
“I’m working on ‘#LightTheFight’ because the fight against AIDS continues,” said Holzer in a statement. “It’s crucial to maintain awareness that the AIDS epidemic is live, in New York and around the world. The messages on the trucks’ screens, contributed by feeling people, could comfort those affected by AIDS and reignite fires in bellies to end AIDS forever.”
Top Image: Jenny Holzer video installation, displaying text from Paul Monette's poem "Here." Photo: Maureen Coyle.