While researching participatory street art, I came across this great artist, Candy Chang, and want to show you two of her most popular projects. They are called “Before I die I want to…” and “I wish this was…”.
“I wish this was…”
In Chang’s own words, this is a “participatory public art project that explores the process of civic engagement. Inspired by the limited dynamics of community meetings where the loudest people ruled, as well as the volume of abandoned buildings, Chang posted thousands of “I wish this was __” stickers on vacant buildings across New Orleans to invite residents to easily share their hopes for these spaces.”
Stickers were provided for free. The project was received excitedly and soon took off. You can still download the stickers or purchase them.
This beautifully simple and elegant way of truly participatory art places the people of a neighbourhood and their dreams at its centre. As you can see, very different answers were given on the stickers, but most of them showed ideas for alternative use of buildings or new developments. For urban planners, this cheap and efficient tool could be very valuable to “survey” the neighbourhood.
Here are some of the results:
Copyright of all pictures: Candy Chang
“Before I die, I want to…”
This project, also by Candy Chang, is more personal and very touching. I found a great TED talk in which Candy tells us about the background and results of this project:
She highlights the importance of sharing public spaces and the possibility to use them for sharing knowledge. Hopes, needs, dreams, visions and many other ideas can be found in the different answers written on the empty wall. Apart from allowing a glimpse into the secret world of a neighbourhood’s aspirations and dreams, this project also serves to turn a neglected, unused space into a very creative and constructive one. Neighbours will feel a sense of community and have some space for contemplation, reflection and information. Again, this project also serves as an innovative tool for urban planners and researchers to understand a neighbourhood with all its individual wishes.
A big thank you to Candy Chang for allowing me to use her pictures! Please tell you friends and families about her beautiful art – and why not consider starting your own sticker action or wall beautification in her spirit?
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below and don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
PS: Candy Chang and colleagues also started Neighborland, a toolkit for US Cities to use for civic projects. Check it out!
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