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Silence=Death Vote

ID Number: 6720
Maker: Silence=Death Project
Technique: offset
Date Made: 1988
Place Made: North America: United States
Measurements: 84 cm x 54 cm; 33 1/16 in x 21 1/4 in
Main Subject: HIV/AIDS
Materials: paper (fiber product)
Digitized: Y

Full Text:
Silence=Death Vote The issue is AIDS where do the candidates stand on treatment research, housing, health care, discrimination? Your vote is a weapon use it we are at war.


Acquisition Number: /

Notes:
Annotation: In 1987, six gay activists in New York formed the Silence = Death Project and began plastering posters around the city featuring a pink triangle on a black background stating simply ‘SILENCE = DEATH.’ In its manifesto, the Silence = Death Project drew parallels between the Nazi period and the AIDS crisis, declaring that ‘silence about the oppression and annihilation of gay people, then and now, must be broken as a matter of our survival.’ The slogan thus protested both taboos around discussion of safer sex and the unwillingness of some to resist societal injustice and governmental indifference. The six men who created the project later joined the protest group ACT UP and offered the logo to the group, with which it remains closely identified. The pink triangle was established as a pro-gay symbol by activists in the U.S. during the 1970s. Its use originated in World War II, when known homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear inverted pink triangle badges as identifiers, much in the same manner that Jews were forced to wear the yellow Star of David. Wearers of the pink triangle were considered at the bottom of the camp social system and subjected to particularly severe maltreatment and degradation. The appropriation of the symbol of the pink triangle, usually turned upright rather than inverted, was thus a conscious attempt to transform a symbol of humiliation into one of solidarity and resistance. By the outset of the AIDS epidemic, it was well-entrenched as a symbol of gay pride and liberation.


Copyright Status:
Under copyright; used by CSPG for educational and research purposes only. Distribution or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.


Exhibition Annotation:
Gran Fury was a collective of AIDS activists, born out of ACT UP/NY, who provoked direct action to end the AIDS crisis. They chose the name Gran Fury after the brand of Plymouth automobile used as a squad car by the New York City police department. They manipulated sophisticated advertising strategies in print and video to render complex issues understandable, and to reach an audience not often addressed by governmental and corporate media. They also retaliated against government and social institutions that made those living with AIDS invisible. The pink triangle was established as a pro-gay symbol by activists in the U.S. during the 1970s. Its use originated in World War II, when known homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear inverted pink triangle badges as identifiers, much in the same manner that Jews were forced to wear the yellow Star of David. Wearers of the pink triangle were considered at the bottom of the camp social system and subjected to particularly severe maltreatment and degradation. The appropriation of the symbol of the pink triangle, usually turned upright rather than inverted, was thus a conscious attempt to transform a symbol of humiliation into one of solidarity and resistance. By the outset of the AIDS epidemic, it was well-entrenched as a symbol of gay pride and liberation.



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