If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Before I Die



Death can inspire life. Especially in New Orleans, on the corner of Marigny and Burgundy, where the Before I Die project has used the specter of urban decay and death to create art and inspire. Using a boarded up house as a canvas, artist Candy Chang transformed a haunting reminder of blight and divestment into a powerful affirmation of human life and imagination. – Life and Times

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and forget what really matters to you. With help from old and new friends, Candy turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood into a giant chalkboard where residents can write on the wall and share what is important to them.

Stenciled with the sentence “Before I die I want to _______”, the wall became a space where we could learn the hopes and dreams of the people around us. Before I Die transformed a neglected space into a constructive one that helped improve our neighborhood and our personal well-being. It’s a question that changed her over the last year after she lost someone she loved very much.

Before I die I want… to sing for millions, to see my daughter graduate, to eat a salad with an alien, to straddle the International Date Line, to cook a soufflé, to love and be loved, to abandon all insecurities, to be completely myself… The reaction to the wall was more than Candy Chang could have ever imagined. From the funny and creative to the thoughtful and heartbreaking, the responses have made her laugh out loud and also tear up.

The notion of turning a neglected space into an active invitation to engage with your community and get to know your neighbors is a wonderful embodiment of enlightened urbanism. What’s more, it’s a reminder that not all meaningful social platforms are accessed through a screen — an inspired antidote to the Foursquarification of urban social quasi-interaction. – Brain Pickings

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