Backstory: 13 years of HIV/AIDS on Wikipedia

For the 25th Day With(out) Art an interactive timeline I created occupied website of the ICA Philadelphia on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2014. Visitors to the site were able to explore the history of HIV and AIDS as captured by more than 8,000 revisions of the HIV/AIDS Wikipedia article.

The visualisation is based on Backstory, a tool I designed during the Beautiful Data workshop at Harvard metaLab. For the Day With(out) arts, a campaign organised by Visual AIDS, I have expanded it into an interactive timeline, which lets users explore the revision history of the HIV/AIDS Wikipedia article.

In the words of Becky Huff Hunter from the ICA Philadelphia:

BackStory: 13 years of HIV/AIDS on Wikipedia is an online visualization tool which allows viewers to explore a subjective, contested, and constantly expanding history of HIV/AIDS, through a chronology of revisions to Wikipedia articles on this topic.

When you read the article about HIV/AIDS on Wikipedia, what you see is just the latest version of a document, that has undergone 13 years of collaborative writing and editing. This revision history, which is exposed through this visualisation, reflects the changing views and discourses around HIV/AIDS

The basis for this visualisation form over 8,000 versions of the HIV/AIDS wikipedia article, which have been curated around three chosen keywords: Condoms, Viral Load and Safe Sex.

Read the announcement on the ICA’s website and articles on the project on Technical.ly and Penn Current.