The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 23, 1998
Feb. 23, 1998
VOL. 27, NO. 23


Looking at AIDS Face to Face

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

"I use a cane, and I'm 23 years old. And it sucks." --Billy H.

"What I do is talk about AIDS and how you catch it, and then I'll say, 'I know this because I have AIDS.'" Just watch people's jaws hit the floor. I've had people say to me, 'But you're such a nice girl.' And I'll say, 'Well, I am a nice girl, but that doesn't mean I don't have AIDS." --Mary C.

Project Face to Face, a traveling interactive multimedia exhibit that tells the stories of people living with the HIV virus, will be on display at the Homewood campus from Monday, March 2, through Friday, March 6, in the AMR Multipurpose Room. An intensely powerful exhibit that has traveled throughout the country, Project Face to Face is made of finely detailed life masks and viewer-activated oral histories of people living with AIDS.

"When I saw the exhibit a year ago at a convention, it was by far the most talked about exhibit there," says Bill Smedick, director of Student Activities, who convinced the Homewood Student Affairs Programming Committee to bring the exhibit to Hopkins. "The students were enthralled by it. It's the most gripping AIDS awareness exhibit I've ever seen. It isn't passive; it draws the viewer into another person's life, and for that reason it really hits home."

The exhibit began in San Francisco in 1988 by artist Jason Dilley, a volunteer on Ward 5-A at San Francisco General Hospital. It was there, working with AIDS patients, that Dilley decided to create a medium that, in a non-threatening way, revealed the faces and voices of people increasingly alienated from society.

The exhibit is an intimate experience because it allows the viewer to look into another human being's face and hear in the person's own words the reality of living with AIDS. These individuals, immersed in the crisis of AIDS, offer forceful evidence that they are no different from the rest of us, neither innocent nor guilty. They come from all walks of life and speak of their pain, fears and hopes with powerful honesty.

In the room across the hall from the AMR Multipurpose Room, there will be tables filled with information from Student Health Services, area AIDS education groups and other health education groups.

Admission to the exhibit is free. It will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 2; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from March 3 to March 5; and 9 a.m. to noon on March 6.

Opening ceremonies will take place at noon on Monday, March 2. A candlelight vigil led by Hopkins chaplain Sharon Kugler will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5.
--Leslie Rice