Columbus, OH
United States
East Gay Street, between Cleveland Ave. and Connel Ave. Columbus Survivor's Knot since 3 April 2004
40 names
As an individual who has been HIV+ for almost 20 years and has had an AIDS diagnosis for more than half of that time, I am acutely aware of the emotional cost of this disease. So many friends and loved ones have suffered and died. The daily struggle to survive can be insurmountable. Our bodies are deteriorating and endless opportunistic infections come without notice and never leave. Daunting medical regiments are difficult to follow with side effects that seem to compound our stress. Community and institutional support is waning, if it is there at all. The odds of survival seem stacked against us. Many do not make it, but some of us do. We survive. We begrudgingly accept our physical changes, rise to the challenges presented, find support and a helping hand where we can, and we continue. We fight and we stay alive.
Road Tattoo? If roads are considered the skin of a community, then a road is to the public body what skin is to the private body. If people mark their skin as a means of commemoration, communication or ritual; then a road can be marked for the same reasons. Road tattoos are composed of cultural designs previously appropriated to mark skin. Once the design is drawn on the road, names or other specific information is painted within the design, a prayer is said and the design is painted in, covering over this information. They are subtle, usually close in color to the roadway, but made with high-gloss latex causing them to appear and disappear with passing light. Eventually traffic and weather conditions dissolve them into the road.
Black high-gloss latex, name of long-term AIDS survivor in the Columbus, Ohio area and prayer, April 2004, 24' x 165'
Sponsored in part by the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio this piece is located on the road next to the campus art museum and was made with the help of student volunteers. It is a tribute to long-term AIDS-survivors in the Columbus area. Names and the number of years surviving with AIDS were written in the piece before a prayer by local Reverend Phil Hart was said and the piece was filled in, covering over this information. The day before the installation it rained heavily; the day after, it snowed.
Photo © National Quality Center Improving HIV Care

3 April 2004
Steed Taylor, New York