This is a awesome idea and work of art.Street art at its finest.I’m always contemplating the before I die question so I had to post this.
Candy Chang is a public installation artist, designer, and urban planner who likes to make cities more comfortable for people. She co-founded Civic Center, an urban design studio in New Orleans where she combines architecture, graphic design, and urban planning to make thoughtful public spaces and communication tools for everyday issues of city life. She’s passionate about redefining the ways we use public space to share information important to our neighborhoods and to our individual well-being.
She’s a 2011 TED Senior Fellow and a 2011 Tulane University/Rockefeller Foundation Urban Innovation Challenge Fellow. She holds a B.S. in Architecture, a B.F.A. in Graphic Design, and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University. After co-founding design firm & record label Red Antenna in New York City, she collaborated with community organizations on urban design projects in New York, Nairobi, Vancouver, New Orleans, and Johannesburg. She was an art director at The New York Times and a design researcher at Nokia in Helsinki. She was also a project leader for Global Studio and a fellow at the Spatial Information Design Lab. She has performed electro in New York, Detroit, and Grenoble and her work has been exhibited at the National Design Museum, Koltsovo International Airport, and many humble sidewalks.
Her parents immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. and she grew up in the cornfields of Ohio and beyond. She now lives in New Orleans where she’s loving porches, palm trees, and ceiling fans while working on public art projects, big and small. She believes that one of the greatest things in life is spending time in public places with the people you love. She also believes that these spaces can better serve the people who live, work, and play in them.
Before I Die
What is important to you?
One month and seven hours of intense stenciling later and it’s up! With a lot of support from old and new friends, I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood into a giant chalkboard where residents can write on the wall and remember what is important to them in life. Before I Die transforms neglected spaces into constructive ones where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us. It turns out this entire process (including official approval from many entities) has been a great lesson, experience, and project in itself – more on that later. If you’re in New Orleans, stop by the corner of Marigny and Burgundy (900 Marigny Street) to add your thoughts to the wall and see what matters most to your neighbors. It’s a question that has changed me in the last year, and I believe the design of our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings. The responses and stories from passersby while we were installing it have already hit me hard in the heart. More installations to come. Huge thanks to Kristina Kassem, Alan Williams, Cory Klemmer, Anamaria Vizcaino, James Reeves, Alex Vialou, and Gary Hustwit for installation assistance and many others for support along the way! Concurrently installed in East/West Galleries.
Update Feb 26, 2011 – Wow. Check out the wall of responses after one day! Photo strip here
Update March 6, 2011 – And after three days:
Once the wall is filled, we wash the board with water and start with a clean slate again. We are documenting all responses and some will be included in a book. A project site is in the works. I have received many requests from people who’d like to install it in their city, so we’re looking into ways to manufacture an affordable stencil (I made this one by hand. It is a lot of cutting). Stay tuned!
Update March 16, 2011 – This out-of-pocket project now has a pocket thanks to the Black Rock Arts Foundation! It will make a huge difference, thank you.
Definitely check out candychang.com and stay tuned for more of her updates.