Dark Mode

About Days of Rage

Days of Rage is a web exhibition that enlivens historical activist posters from ONE Archives at the USC Libraries through tactile analysis and storytelling. Grounded in the experiences of activists and graphic designers Alan Bell, Daniel Hyo Kim, Chandi Moore, Silas Munro, Judy Ornelas Sisneros, and Jordan Peimer, the exhibition positions LGBTQ+ graphic design as embodied in community realities and histories, producing subjective reflections on the interdependence of design and activism. In assembling the exhibition, these community experts chose five posters from the recently digitized poster collection at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Over a sequence of stylized videos that emphasize the choreography of their hands, the invited experts reflect on their selections, allowing the posters to guide ruminations on design language, community responsiveness, erasure and history, and the affiliative force of activist politics. Their hands, voices, and memories serve as interpretive guides in transmitting knowledge, thereby queering the mode in which graphic design is displayed–which is so often static and wall-bound. From bold graphic declarations of community activation to explicit safer sex health campaigns, the posters discussed run the affective gamut, bringing up powerful feelings of rage, joy, and sorrow. Days of Rage privileges this associative and sometimes aleatory interpretation of design, and finds profound value in its capacity to serve as a roiling, continuous link to a shared sense of LGBTQ+ ancestry and struggle.

The exhibition is curated by Andy Campbell, Associate Professor Critical Studies at the Roski School of Design, University of Southern California (USC), and co-curated by Tracy Fenix and Austen Villacis, current students in Roski’s Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere graduate program.

This project is organized by One Institute, made possible by a grant from Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The digitization of over 4200 posters in ONE’s collections was made possible by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collections program.

About One Institute

Founded in 1952, One Institute is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories and history of all LGBTQ people and their culture. As an independent nonprofit, One Institute promotes ONE Archives at the USC Libraries — the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world — and provides innovative educational initiatives, public exhibitions, and community programs. The curatorial and educational choices made by One Institute are guided by our commitment to social equity and justice. We engage with the complexity of LGBTQ history and representation through highlighting the intersectional and authentic narratives of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, gender-nonconforming and transgender people, people of various abilities, youth, and elders across all socio-economic classes.


About Protest Sign Font

The Protest Sign Font utilized on the Days of Rage exhibition website is created by GenderFail. GenderFail is a publishing, programing and archiving platform run solely by Be Oakley. The font is licensed for noncommercial usage.


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For inquiries about the exhibit, contact Umi Hsu, Director of Content Strategy at One Institute.

AIDS in LA, 1983-1989

Designer: Brian Mladenich
Year: 1990
Dimesions: 100 x 61 cm

AIDS in LA 1983-1989 visualizes the differences in reported cases of AIDS among white people, black people, and Hispanic people between 1983 and 1989 in Los Angeles County. The poster project was created by student geographer Brian Mladenich and supervised by Professor Emeritus William Bowen. Professor Bowen supervised at least one other LA AIDS data visualization project the year before AIDS in LA 1983-1989, in 1989. Given that both Mladenich and Bowen were operating within the Department of Geography, the bottom of the poster explains some of their research methodologies, including how Mladenich generated the maps using anonymized data. It was crucial that the data not be traceable to individuals, as often, PWAs (people living with AIDS) experienced discrimination on the basis of their status, which complicated (or eliminated) the possibility of finding adequate housing, work, and medical care. 

In one sense, the poster avoids issues of photographic representation by drawing from anonymized data to convey its message, but in another, also problematically posits the city as a body itself; a body in which AIDS slowly metastasizes from one municipality to the next. Rather than raising awareness or aiming to elicit a specific behavior in the viewers (like practicing safe sex, for instance) this poster answers one central question: how do we visualize a pandemic?

Image: Brian Mladenich, “AIDS in LA: 1983-1989,” 1990.  LGBTQ Poster Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.

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