Before I die I want to…

Joseph Maduma
April 10th 2011
Before I die 1
Before I die 2

This project is by far the most moving and touching design project I have come across so far this year. It’s a brilliant initiative created by Candy Chang, public installation artist and all-round community design super woman. In her neighbourhood of New Orleans Candy has created a giant chalk board on the side of an abandoned house, where local residents and passers by are invited to write their life ambitions and aspirations. When the board is full they then wipe it clean, photograph it and wait for the next round of responses. In her own words ” ‘Before I Die’ transforms neglected spaces into constructive ones where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us”.

Candy says the question has helped change her own life over the last year and she believes “design of our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings”. She has been touched and inspired by the responses and stories of passers by  and has been “blown away” by the success of the project so far. In the first 24 hours the entire hoarding was full with responses ranging from the light hearted “go 200mph” and “hug a sloth” to the heartfelt “save a life” and “see equality”.

Beofre I die 5

Unfortunately, due to someone buying the house, the project has to be taken down. But Candy says that she knew it would have to come to an end on this particular house some day and she’s glad that the house is becoming a home again. She says that this is by no means the last of the project though and “it will rise again in another place in New Orleans”. There have already been several requests for the project in the neighbourhoods of other cities so the team are in the process of producing a large one column stencil  that will make it much easier to reproduce. And with a book and a project website (allowing people from all over the world to participate) in the pipeline, this project is definitely one to watch for 2011…

Before I die 6

To find out more about the project in her own words go to Also read more at Creative Review and Wired Magazine.