"Before I Die..." An Abandoned Building Transformed Into a Public Bucket List
The artist Candy Chang has transformed an abandoned house in New Orleans into a public forum where people declare what they want to do before dying.
Unless this singularity thing lives up to Ray Kurzweil's craziest expectations, none of us will be alive forever. And that thought, while depressing in an obvious way, can also help us refocus on what really matters.
To that end, Candy Chang, an artist we've covered (and worked with) in the past, has transformed an abandoned house at the corner of Marigny and Burgundy in New Orleans into a giant chalkboard featuring a sort of public "bucket list." A prompt at the top reads "Before I die...", and in blank spaces below, passersby can use the provided chalk to fill in the things they want to do before they expire. The answers run the gamut from the inspiring—"Write a book," "See my daughter graduate," "Fall in love"—to the perplexing—"Travel 200 mph," "Make love to Bill Gates"—to the unintentionally amusing—"Not write on a stupid wall."
The wall filled up in a single day when Chang put it up in late February. Since then, it has been washed clean and filled in again many times over. Chang and her collaborators are documenting all the responses and will publish some of them in a book. The project has been so popular, in fact, that Chang is preparing a kit with a how-to guide and a stencil that will help artists in other cities recreate it.
And a recent delay in renovations to the house has given the wall itself a new lease on life.
There's a side-scrolling gallery of the entire filled-in wall here.