Thursday, March 29, 2012

found: 'Before I Die' Project

It’s all too easy to jump on that proverbial hamster wheel and just keep going and going, sticking with our everyday routines. And it’s been proven that people actually do function better with a regular routine. But sometimes it can feel like my days mesh together, never changing, and then become increasingly difficult to differentiate.

How often do we stop and examine why we do the things we do? We’re all driven by different factors; working to provide for your family, putting in overtime to get that promotion, wanting to become your own boss, saving up for a vacation, the list can go on and on. But it’s all very simple and comes down to this: our hopes and dreams. Don’t you find that sometimes you get so caught up in your life that you actually forget them?

Candy Chang is an artist who turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans into a giant chalkboard where the community can write on the wall and remember what is important to them. This is why I love art. It makes you think. The Before I Die movement is an interactive art project that invites people to share those hopes and dreams that they may have forgotten or brushed to the side.

The wall is painted with chalkboard board and stenciled with “Before I die I want to _________” and the responses have ranged from thoughtful to heartbreaking to downright hilarious. Before I die I want to… write a book, be ok with not understanding, explore this world, understand why I’m here, tell my mother I love her, travel the world, see my daughter graduate, be tried for piracy, save a life, plant a tree, abandon all insecurities, be the exception to the rule…

This project has expanded to cities all over the world including Amsterdam, Portsmouth, Querétaro, Almaty, San Diego, Lisbon, Brooklyn, London, and beyond and is being called one of the most creative projects ever. Even “O”, The Oprah magazine had this to say about the movement “Through a series of large-scale projects that combine installation art with social activism, Chang has encouraged people to engage with public spaces to let their voices be heard.”

Not only does this amazing project give us insight into what really matters to our neighbors and the people around you, but it connects you to them, helping us all realize that a lot of us aren’t so different after all. It forces us to reflect on our own lives, ultimately helping us to live a better life. A more fulfilled life. Encouraging us to chase the dreams that float around in our minds.

What do you want to do before you die?

P.S. Now, you can even transform your own community with the Before I Die toolkit! Or take a little piece with you and remember your dreams at home. (I just might have to order one for myself!)

(Via Candy Chang)


  1. ... fly in a fighter jet. *drool*

  2. I saw this a little while back and was so inspired. I want to write a book one day!

  3. What a wonderful project!