CR Blog

Before I die I want to...

Illustration, Type / Typography

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 5 April 2011, 10:12    Permalink    Comments (48)

A little over a month ago, installation artist Candy Chang turned the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighbourhood into a giant chalkboard where passersby could write up their personal aspirations...

Before I Die, "transforms neglected spaces into constructive ones where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us," Chang writes on her website.

As the founder of Civic Center, a design studio in the city that aims to "make thoughtful public spaces and communication tools for everyday issue of city life," Chang has been following the progress of the messages as they have accumulated on the chalkboard.

The latest pictures from the Before I Die project, the first two images shown here, are from just a few days ago.

From "understand why I'm here" to "do a cartweel"...

The self-initiated piece (Chang sought permission from the property owner) is at 900 Marigny Street, on the corner of Marigny and Burgundy, in New Orleans. It was made using boarding and chalkboard paint – and plenty of chalk – in collaboration with the neighborhood association's blight committee, the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the Arts Council, and the City Planning Commission.

The boards as of mid-March

"I believe the design of our public spaces can better reflect what's important to us as residents and as human beings," says Chang. "The responses and stories from passersby while we were installing it have already hit me hard in the heart. More installations to come."

And after squinting hard at the shot below, I think I've worked out what this little girl's immediate priorities are: "Before I die I want to eat all the candy...". More images from the project at candychang.com.

UPDATE: Candy emailed us with update of what the girl finally wrote: "Before I die I want to eat all the candy and sushi in the world." Brilliant.

Thanks to Kristina Kassem, Alan Williams, Cory Klemmer, Anamaria Vizcaino, James Reeves, Alex Vialou, Sean Knowlton, Carolina Caballero, and Gary Hustwit for installation assistance.


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48 Comments

Have been a fan of Candy Chang's work for a while. Nice project.
Req
2011-04-05 12:35:22


Very nice.
Matthew Ingram
2011-04-05 13:08:58


...eat nanas, mornin', noon + nite
Grilla Login
2011-04-05 13:12:50


God loves Candy Chang and so do I.

Scott Gibboney
2011-04-05 13:28:00


What a great way to engage a community. Would love to see what people in my area would think/say.
Gavin Martin
2011-04-05 13:29:10


I love this, doesn't it just make you smile, and the best bit about it is how it seems the local community has really got into it.

amazing idea good work :)
Steve
2011-04-05 13:40:37


What a good project!
For me the answer is in a song, written not so long ago by a guy called john Lennon, who died too early...
"Imagine"...
Virginie Bennett
Virginie Bennett
2011-04-05 13:47:46


Love this. Inspiring, moving and touchingly honest.

Just goes to show how so called 'non creative' people can enhance a piece of work.

This piece has never more strongly illustrated that some design work is incomplete without an audience.

Great work.
web design bedfordshire
2011-04-05 13:58:51


superb idea and very effective, fun , popular and with interesting results

Fantastic!

ehm, before i die i want the immortality.
badini createam
2011-04-05 13:59:40


this is a brilliantly simple way to interact with an audience and one which offers a community a fun and iinteresting way to think differently.
m
Marc
2011-04-05 15:20:37


This has been beautifully done
Nice work
Hali Olalemi
2011-04-05 16:16:48


Candy Chang must have a big heart.
Wilmer Gibboney
2011-04-05 18:26:21


Just when I thought I'd come up with a good idea I find someone's already done it - only much better.
Brilliant.
Rolfian.
Rolfian
2011-04-05 19:28:09


Great stuff
GEORGE VRANJKOVIC
2011-04-05 20:14:56


So touching... made my eyes well with tears! :)
Natalia
2011-04-05 21:26:19


What a wonderful IDEA!!
Theresa
2011-04-06 01:41:50


Really really cool! love reading about people's hopes and dreams

I've blogged (and tweaked it slightly) "Before I die I want to design..." http://bit.ly/gZ8y23
GraphicDesignBoss
2011-04-06 08:28:51


Absolutely loved reading about this project. Beautiful. Although .... part of me couldn't help looking for the immature answers (The scally opinions!) I'm from Manchester. End of. Ha! But I do wonder what kind of answers you would get from the community i'm in .... It wouldn't be seen as an art installation, just something else to vandalise, It's just so nice to see people using installations the way they're supposed to be used! Well done Candy Chang :) *Thumbs up!*
Jennifer Huddart
2011-04-06 12:47:33


Thanks for all the comments. Candy emailed earlier to let us know the rest of the sentence that the little girl is writing. It's "Before I die I want to eat all the candy and sushi in the world." Oh yes.
CR Mark Sinclair
2011-04-06 13:14:29


LOL Mark. That is priceless!
GraphicDesignBoss
2011-04-06 13:57:01


"Love this. Inspiring, moving and touchingly honest."

+1, totally agree. Great piece, and amazed that it hasn't been vandalised. I can't imagine anything else happening here. In a way I hope I'm wrong...
Q
2011-04-06 14:01:34


Gladden the Heart that we as a people are alive.

Jerry Williams
Jerry Williams
2011-04-06 14:33:44


Super work! What a great community project :-)
bluepigcreative
2011-04-06 16:51:50


what a great idea! Full of heart!
david miller
2011-04-07 00:01:19


Thank you for starting this project. It is very inspiring to me!
Stacia
2011-04-07 01:00:43


Amazing. Beautiful. A small idea for great though. See and live directly the reaction from resident and passerby is priceless. It's wonderfull to see people using such installations just the way they're supposed to be used! Awaiting for your next public installation Candy Chang.
zibi
2011-04-07 09:31:58


This is so creative and inspiring. Thanks. I hope more of these pop up throughout the world.
Wendy
2011-04-07 14:09:06


Such a simple but engaging 'Public Art' piece, the way it should be!
It really annoys me when large phallic status symbols are erected which have no connection or meaning other than to say look at our hard on it cost 30k of tax payers money, now you better understand it and be proud of it as it is a symbol of your community and identity!
With this you really start to understand how other people within your community think, have the same aspirations, dreams, worries and troubles in life!
All neighbour hoods should have one...that would give The Coalition an idea about what makes The Big Society tick!
Framedink
2011-04-07 14:30:06


Such a simple but engaging 'Public Art' piece, the way it should be!
It really annoys me when large phallic status symbols are erected which have no connection or meaning other than to say look at our hard on it cost 30k of tax payers money, now you better understand it and be proud of it as it is a symbol of your community and identity!
With this you really start to understand how other people within your community think, have the same aspirations, dreams, worries and troubles in life!
All neighbour hoods should have one...that would give The Coalition an idea about what makes The Big Society tick!
Framedink
2011-04-07 14:34:25


I was at the Whitney last week wondering where the hell is art going and how in the world is going to be revelevant to people because after seeing so many boring, dull and "just say how relevant to the world I´m" art instalations that mean nothing and comunicate very little one looses faith in art yet here cames Candy with a piece of chalk, thanks and BRAVO!!!!!
Juan Ignacio León y Castillo
2011-04-07 17:13:02


This is a wonderful piece. What an honest portrayal of what people really believe is important.
Honest, inspiring, wonderful, sad and human.
Andrew Sepic
2011-04-08 13:47:50


This is pretty cool. I wonder what it would take to do the same thing in LA. Did she just go for it or what?
Jussray
2011-04-10 22:46:56


What a great idea!
Lola Hinderson
2011-04-12 01:05:07


Would she mind people copying this inspiring idea into poor neighborhoods
Wayne hesler
2011-04-12 12:43:32


God loves Candy Chang and so do I.
Emelie
2011-06-23 11:26:50


A very nice idea a list "before i die" is very important for everybody.
Übersetzung
2011-08-03 07:05:25


This is a wonderful piece. What an honest portrayal of what people really believe is important.
Honest, inspiring, wonderful, sad and human.
Übersetzung
2011-10-26 23:40:34


I was at the Whitney last week wondering where the hell is art going and how in the world is going to be revelevant to people because after seeing so many boring, dull and "just say how relevant to the world I´m" art instalations that mean nothing and comunicate very little one looses faith in art yet here cames Candy with a piece of chalk, thanks and BRAVO!!!!!
Übersetzung Deutsch Englisch
2011-11-04 13:00:31


Fantastic idea. Every hoods should have one.
Deutsch Türkisch
2012-01-05 15:56:11


Insperado! ;-)
Very good! Thank you for this!
kunst blog
2012-02-14 10:50:17


What a great idea!!!
videoproduktion
2012-02-14 11:08:34


very inspiring
nagelstudio
2012-02-15 19:18:43


Love this idea!
Also is made me thinking ...
Jocuri
2012-04-20 09:31:57


Before I die i want to travel 1 month or more without money
Before I die i want to know how it's like to be rich
Before I die i want to have kids
Before I die i want to try as much sports as possbile
Stefan
2012-04-20 09:35:43


That is great, i want to visit this wall before i die :)
Übersetzungsbüro Karlsruhe
2012-07-11 22:29:35


Very supportive inforamation, good work guys keep it up!
workman com insurance california
2012-08-29 07:43:24


i am loving it! Those boards are awesome!
filmproduktion
2012-11-22 16:15:12


May be we could get our names on the chalk board as well. Great
John Townsend
2013-03-02 17:41:37


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