There are now over 1,000 Before I Die walls in over 70 countries and 35 languages. Twelve of these walls are in Australia. But I just bet there is currently only 1 Before I Die wall in the whole world that can also be transformed into a mobile 4-sided trailer. It’s the Before I Die Transformer model. It’s been a year long journey as this community project unfolded and was launched this week.
“Before I Die is a global art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space. This project was started by [artist] Candy Chang on an abandoned house in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved.” Read all about the project origins at http://beforeidie.cc.
The first thing you need for a Before I Die wall is a large chalk board for people to write on. Synchronicity struck when having a coffee at Conversations Café I looked up and realised one whole wall was a chalk board wall used for writing up daily menus. After a chat with the owner who is very supportive of community projects, our small group of 4 friends were allowed to use half the wall. In a couple of hours we created our pilot Before I Die wall for Gawler. This happened in July last year.
The wall was up for a couple of months. The response was very encouraging. The chalk board filled up quickly with peoples aspirations for what they wanted to do before they died. Over a coffee they would read other’s comments then share their reflection. Before I Die I want to … develop a superpower, teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, skydive, fix all my mistakes, love myself and others.
Encouraged by the success of the pilot wall, I pitched to Council and our Community Service Groups. Outcomes from the pitches were not only 2 grants to help subsidize the cost but some excellent ideas. It was suggested that a public wall in the one place would lose its impact after a while. But if the wall was in pop-up mode it would keep its novelty. So this meant the wall had to be mobile. We had to take the wall to where the people are.
We reviewed what other communities had done and were inspired by the wall in Townsville. They constructed a 4-sided rectangle on a local beach. This allowed people to walk all around it and it was free-standing; didn’t need a wall so the structure could be placed near the people.
It was from these ideas that our vision for our Trailer wall emerged. My wonderful fiancé made it all happen. I could hear lots of banging in the man-shed when he had spare time and then after a few months, the great unveiling! He explained that not only can it be used as a trailer wall but also the panels detach and can be affixed to a wall or fence.
The first outing was as a wall at the Gawler Fringe Festival in February this year (2015) in the pop-up laneway. Festival goers could sit on the shark-couch to reflect on other’s comments and then write up their own. We had one panel in place and it filled up fast each day. Before I Die I want to …. Get married, no you don’t, yes you do, swim in the dead sea, be the Awesomest me, imagine that no one wants for anything.
The project is now complete. This week we launched Gawler’s Before I Die Trailer/Wall. On Monday night I presented to Gawler Rotary. There were about 40 people, a who’s who of local personalities and business people. Last night, Thursday, I presented to the annual Service Club Forum in the Council Chambers.
There was an impressive representation of Presidents and Executive members from Rotary, Apex, Lions, Kiwanis and Zonta clubs. The Mayor, CEO, Community Development Officer and Manager Engineering Services represented Council. It was a great opportunity to thank Council for the grants and thank the Clubs for their ideas which were incorporated into the finished project. As always it is through collaboration, cooperation and hard consistent work from many people that an idea becomes a reality. Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far.
So Gawler has a new free Community Resource that anyone is able to use. It is ideal when there is a crowd of people. It is a great way to engage people in a fun yet reflective communal activity. We will take the wall/trailer to your location, set it up in the mode you require, supply the chalk, monitor it and then take it away at the end. Email me to make a booking.