“Before I Die” is an interactive, public art project conceived by artist Candy Chang. The first installation was in New Orleans in February 2011, and has since grown to around 30 other cities across the United States, and 7 countries.
The premise is simple: install a blank billboard-sized chalkboard in a publicly accessible space, supply a bucket of chalk, write the prompt “Before I Die…” on the chalkboard, sit back and wait, watch people share their hopes and dreams.
So far the artist and her collaborators have noted over 25,000 responses. Of the responses, 15 percent want to travel to distant lands, 10 percent wish to reconnect with family and 1 percent want to write a book.
[div class=attrib]From the Washington Post:[end-div]
Before they die, the citizens of Washington, D.C., would like to achieve things both monumental and minuscule. They want to eat delicious food, travel the globe and — naturally — effect political change. They want to see the Earth from the Moon. They want to meet God.
They may have carried these aspirations in their hearts and heads their whole lives, but until a chalkboard sprang up at 14th and Q streets NW, they may have never verbalized them. On the construction barrier enveloping a crumbling old laundromat in the midst of its transformation into an upscale French bistro, the billboard-size chalkboard offers baskets of chalk and a prompt: “Before I die .?.?.”
The project was conceived by artist Candy Chang, a 2011 TED fellow who created the first “Before I Die” public art installation last February in a city that has contemplated its own mortality: New Orleans. On the side of an abandoned building, Chang erected the chalkboard to help residents “remember what is important to them,” she wrote on her Web site. She let the responses — funny, poignant, morbid — roll in. “Before I Die” migrated to other cities, and with the help of other artists who borrowed her template, it has recorded the bucket-list dreams of people in more than 30 locations. The District’s arrived in Logan Circle early Sunday morning.
Chang analyzes the responses on each wall; most involve travel, she says. But in a well-traveled city like Washington, many of the hopes on the board here address politics and power. Before they die, Washingtonians would like to “Liberate Palestine,” “Be a general (Hooah!),” “Be chief of staff,” “See a transgender president,” “[Have] access to reproductive health care without stigma.” Chang also notes that the D.C. wall is more international than others she’s seen, with responses in at least seven languages.
[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Image: Crystal Hamling, 27, adds her thoughts to the “Before I Die…” art wall at 14th and Q streets NW. She wrote “Make people feel loved.” Courtesy of Katherine Frey / Washington Post.[end-div]