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.
“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…”
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 beforeidie.cc for more info and watch artist’s TED talk about the project. Follow the Before I Die project on Twitter and Facebook.
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!