»kissing, crying, and freaking out in public« by candy chang (+)

a series of public installations in hong kong that play with the boundary between public and private, isolation and connectedness, and the way technology, crowds, specific buildings, and messaging can mediate a citizen’s perception of solitude and community. by adopting the visual language of municipal signage, these unexpected and incredibly personal questions force the busy pedestrian to reconsider her emotional relationship to the city and suggest new possibilities for the way we describe our places. 


Candy Chang - Before I Die (2011-ongoing)

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. After Artist Candy Chang lost someone she loved very much, she thought about death a lot. The project is helped clarify her life, the people she wants to be with, and the things she wants to do, but she struggled to maintain perspective. She wondered if other people felt the same way. So with help from old and new friends, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

This participatory public art project is expanding to countries around the world, including Kazakhstan, Mexico, Italy, Australia, Portugal, Argentina, and beyond! Visit the project website for more info and watch artist’s TED talk about the project. Follow the Before I Die project on Twitter and Facebook.


Candy Chang Sidewalk Psychiatry (NYC)

Pedestrians in the city often find themselves walking in deep thought. A routine trip can prompt reflections on everything from future goals to last night’s dinner conversation. Sidewalk Psychiatry encourages self-evaluation in transit by posing critical questions on the pavements of New York City with stencils and temporary spray chalk. Now your daily ponderings and emotional problems can be prodded and treated on the go – and, best of all, it’s free of charge!


This week we meet with English artist Oliver Blank who explores our sense of time and place through public installations. And this time we make an artwork together. Call (718)395-7556 to participate!


1. Call (718) 395-7556 

2. Leave a message saying what you would say to the one that got away

3. Tell us you’ve called (using #theartassignment and your social media platform of choice) and prompt someone to do the same.

4. Your voice may be featured in a sound piece composed by Oliver Blank

Many thanks to Cummins Cummins Inc. for their use of The Irwin Conference Center in Columbus, Indiana, as well as Richard McCoy and the fine folks at We Are City: Michael Kaufmann, John Beeler, and Laura Holzman, for making this episode possible.


Candy Chang - Confessions

“As they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what if we could share with full discretion? Confessions is a public art project that invites people to anonymously share their confessions and see the confessions of the people around them in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.

As Art Production Fund Artist-in-Residence at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Candy lived in the The Cosmpolitan for a month and turned its P3 Studio gallery into a contemplative place for people to anonymously share their confessions. Inspired by Shinto shrine prayer walls, Post Secret, and Catholicism, she created a place where people could write and submit their confessions on wooden plaques in the privacy of confession booths. Candy hung the anonymous plaques on the gallery walls each day and painted select responses on large canvases. The space also featured original, contemplative music by Oliver Blank – listen to it here.

By the end of the exhibit, over 1500 confessions were displayed on the walls: I still love her two girlfriends and five years later, Came here married to one girl and left married to two girls, I sold heroin to my friend and it ruined his life, I stole over 15,000 from the company I work for, I like porn more than my husband does, I’m afraid I’ll die young just like my mother, I’m in love with my best friend – too bad he’s married, I feel some days that I’m socially unacceptable, I don’t know what I am doing and I’m running out of time…

Another public art piece by Candy Chang.

I wish this was” is a really interesting way to connect people with community, basically people would buy these stickers, stick them up onto decaying/neglected buildings and write what they would want on them.

It also gave birth to Neighorland which is a digital version of it, but designed to give people the voice to say what they want in their communities rather than what is propped up.

A different way to connect to people, but i’m really getting into this connection idea that seems to be on the for


Candy Chang - Before I Die…

Artist Candy Chang has teamed up with the Chicago Urban Art Society and youth-run art gallery Good News Only to bring her interactive public art project Before I Die(previously) to various Chicago neighborhoods. Passersby are confronted with a spray painted canvas bearing the repeated prompt “Before I die…” and can use provided chalk to complete the sentence, creating a public space for spontaneously shared dreams, hopes, fears and aspirations. The piece was installed yesterday in Edgewater and will be making stops in Pilsen, Wicker Park, Chinatown and elsewhere. You can follow the works progress at Before I Die Chi, and if you have a site where the piece can be installed you should get in touch.

“In our age of increasing distractions, the need for perspective and reflection is essential.”

Artists Candy Chang and writer James Reeves are transforming an abandoned gas station in the Mojave desert into a library “dedicated to pilgrimages and personal transformation.” 

While the Philosopher’s Library project is just beginning, you can share the books that have changed your life on the project’s website and they will be included in the library’s catalogue. (Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, if interested.)

Our public spaces are as profound as we allow them to be. They are our shared spaces and reflect what matters to us as a community and as individuals. … At their greatest, our public spaces can nourish our well-being and help us see that we’re not alone as we try to make sense of our lives. They can help us grieve together and celebrate together and console one another and be alone together. Each passerby is another person full of longing, anxiety, fear, and wonder. With more ways to share in public space, the people around us can not only help us make better places, they can help us become our best selves.