Jenny Holzer draws on Walt Whitman for Aids memorial

App will allow people to keep memories alive far beyond New York

The US artist Jenny Holzer, who is known for her LED light pieces and truisms carved into stone, is contributing to a new app linked to a memorial in New York commemorating the men, women and children who have died from HIV/Aids. 

The app, which will be produced by Google, accompanies Holzer’s text installation for the New York City Aids Memorial, which is due to be unveiled near the former St Vincent’s hospital in the West Village in 2016.

“Excerpts from Song of Myself by Walt Whitman will be the text on the granite paving stones. The Whitman poem is a beauty from a man in full and glad possession of his body,” Holzer tells us. “The app should add content from visitors and from other authors—I’m thinking a lot about David Wojnarowicz, for example—for a rich mix,” she says. Wojnarowicz, a New Jersey-born artist and activist, died of Aids-related illnesses in 1992. “I hope we’ll realise a great app that will permit people to commemorate the loved,” Holzer says.

The New York City-based urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn are behind the memorial, which incorporates an 18ft-high canopy over granite paving. So far, nearly $5m has been raised from local elected officials, foundations, corporations and individuals.

The monument, designed by the Brooklyn-based architecture practice Studio A+I, will be the centrepiece of a new public park developed by the Manhattan-based company Rudin Management.