Wild Young Minds: Before I die...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Before I die...

I want to write something on the 'Before I die...' wall in New Orleans.

A couple of weeks ago I had to do a TED-talk in English class. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the concept of TED-talks, but what it comes down to is inspirational talks given at an annual conference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. The idea is that some ideas have to be spread. The talks are brief, exist of deep thoughts and have a wide range of subjects. I did my TED-talk about my tattoo but while searching for inspiration, I came across an amazing TED-talk by Candy Chang, who created the 'Before I die...' wall in New Orleans.

Candy Chang is an artist who lives in New Orleans. She has set up many projects in her neighbourhood, which she really loves, to make people come closer and to make them share their hopes for the community, including buildings, borrowing things and landschapes. After a tough period in Candy's life (she lost a beloved one), she started transforming buildings into inspirational places. She exclaims two things that are particulary important in people's lives: time and other people. Since the time we have on earth is limited, we have to do something useful with it and by prefer spend it with other people.
 Candy transformed an abandoned house into a great wall which firstly only had one line written on it. It was a question that had to be completed: 'Before I die, I want to...' The idea was that anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, exclaim their wishes or most important things in their lives and share it in public. What started as an experiment, turned out to be a succesful widely spread initiative. Within a day, the entire wall was filled with people's wishes. The idea was copied throughout the entire world. It has brought more thoughts about death alive (how ambiguous is this), about what matters most to us, and about knowing you're not alone. This definitely is one of the most fascinating projects I've ever heard of and I think it would be wonderful if we had one in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, anyone?) as well. It would lessen the intolerance on the streets and improve the relationship between neighbours in communities.
 Before I die I want to… sing for millions, hold her one more time, eat a salad with an alien, see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, plant a tree, straddle the International Date Line, be completely myself… 
 Check out the 'Before I Die Wall' Facebook here.

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