Category Archives: Art

Before I die, I Want To…

Photo of the ‘Before I Die’ project in New Orleans.

To the left is a picture of an abandoned building in New Orleans. What you see on the the side of the building started out as an experiment by Candy Chang. Candy had lost someone she loved. In writing about this experiment and the impetus for it, she said, “I thought about death a lot. This helped clarify my life but I struggled to maintain perspective. I wanted to know what was important to the people around me and I wanted a daily reminder.”

Candy and her friends painted the side of an abandoned house in their neighborhood with chalkboard paint. They then stenciled the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” and left chalk in little baskets along the walls so anyone walking by would be able reflect on their lives and share their aspirations in public space.  

I stumbled upon this project while perusing the world wide web via ‘Stumble Upon’ the other day.  As I looked through the

Before I Die in Minneapolis

photos of various walls across the U.S. and several other countries, I came across the wall in Minneapolis.  I scanned through the photos quickly, looking for the address where the wall was located, but had no luck.  Upon google searching the Minneapolis project, I found that Before I Die in Minneapolis, according to the Startribune, “is on a wall at 2609 Stevens Avenue in Whittier, part of that neighborhood’s ‘Artists in Storefronts.'”  The project ran April 27 through June 10 of this year (2012).  So, I had missed it by a good two months.  

Anyway, I know this is a departure from what I listed in my previous post concerning up and coming blog topics, but because these art projects are more time sensitive than the topics I am working on currently. Thus, I figured it would be best to post about this before other drafts.  

Projects like these are always very interesting to me.  So, I encourage you to look for your city on the Before I Die Project Website and go have a look.  And take some pictures.  Maybe even write a little something of your own on the wall for others to see.  Or, if like me, you missed the project in your city, see if you can catch one in a city near you because as Candy Chang said, “it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you.” And sometimes all you really need is a little reminder.



1 Comment

Filed under Art, Cultural Attitudes toward Death, Culture

To The East

OK, I know the blog has been dead–no pun intended–for a week or so, but it was with good reason! I just returned a couple days ago (OK more like four days ago) from my trip out East for a job interview with S.C.I. or Service Corporation International for those of you that are unfamiliar with the abbreviation.  I was in Boston/Cambridge for a week from September 26th through October 3rd and it was wonderful, the most wonderful part being that they made me an offer.  Catching up with friends and good food tied for second place though.

Anyway, with all that being said, I wanted to just quickly put some ideas  out there for upcoming posts: euthanasia, the rural cemetery movement, casket hardware, mania for the macabre, and taphophilia.  I have started all of these independently in my drafts, but we’ll see how I do once my perfectionism takes hold. Aside from posts, I am also starting to work on a morbid/macabre bucket list that I intend to create a page for on this blog.  My Uncle Jim and several friends were my inspiration.

I’ll leave you with an interesting factoid and a picture from my trip to Mount Auburn.

Christian burials were traditionally made supine east (feet)-west (head). This is still how a typical funeral procession in and out of a Christian church is oriented. There are several reasons offered for this burial tradition. One reason is that it mirrors the layout of Christian churches.  Another, often cited in conjunction with the aforementioned reason, is that upon resurrection the individual may view the coming of Christ on Judgment Day. On the other hand, ordained clergy are traditionally buried in the opposite orientation and their caskets are carried likewise. The belief, I have heard from several priests, is so that they may rise facing, and ready to minister to, their people upon resurrection. 



Filed under Art, Cemetery