The “BEFORE I DIE” wall is something that was mentioned to me whilst discussing my Final Major project. It seemed like a fantastic idea that unites people from all over the world, allowing anonymously say something that you might not discuss with your family and friends. We don’t seem to live our lives constantly thinking about the day when we might die, we want to live and do great things.
The wall is world wide project created by artist Candy Chang . He created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with neighbours while remaining an introvert.
The success of this idea is incredible. As website describes “After posting a few photos online, the images spread and she received hundreds of messages from people who wanted to make a wall with their community. She created this website with resources and now thanks to passionate people around the world, over 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa.”
I was super keen to set up one in Hull. City of Culture/2017 is coming and this could extend the community involvement, be creative and show the greatness of the people living in Hull.
Photographic aspect would be used to spread the word and record the “life” of the wall.
I happened to have great people around me being interested in the wall as much as I was and that’s where the project was born and started to take shape.
John and Jenni from eskimosoup had a realistic idea of how to make this happen. The first stage is to set up a smaller version of the wall [low cost] and see what the public reaction is. Jenni had a great idea to test the wall at the Bank Holiday Weekend YO-YO Festival on Princess Avenue created by organisation established in 1995 YO-YO THE FAMOUS INDIE ROCK N ROLL DISCO.
The festival was family friendly, covers different times of the day and pretty much is an ideal festival for the first “BEFORE I DIE” wall.
We set up in the morning, I felt like the preparation is essential to photograph as we are doing this from scratch. Jenni already had prepared the wall [great job] and we just had to set it up. We also thought to extend the wall to the pavement and allow people to express themselves.
Later on the day, when festival was two hours in, I popped down to the venue and checked if people have been near to the wall. We really hoped that people will get involved and we will be able to take the project further, responding to the thousands of interests [high expectation haha].
I was happy to see that people have written they wishes and some have used the pavement and chalks to express themselves.
Then later on the night we went down to see what is happening again, plus enjoy the festival – music and atmosphere.
We were super happy that people have continued to write on the wall and pavement.
It was interesting to see what the messages are.
The experience was a learning curve for the “BEFORE I DIE” wall. We have learned that people will get engaged we just need to give them the space and tools.
We know that kids love it too, so do we need to create a kids “before I die wall” in the future?
My personal preference would be 3x bigger wall and we will be working towards that for the future reference.
We have some great plans for Hull and “BEFORE I DIE” wall, so keep you eyes and ears open.
As for the festival, I did love the atmosphere and so I did love a bit of live music.
My personal favourite was NINETIES BOY and his “gang”. Just loved the 90’s cheese and tackiness, his presence was ace and OHH, the lyrics…
Overall – happy to announce that the wall and the festival was great success, thanks Jenni and John for great work and support, it’s my honor to be part of this.