A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

We live in a uniquely unsettled moment of technological, political, and social flux. Awash in endless currents of information delivered by glowing screens, each new headline, discovery, and development brings a fresh opportunity for faith or despair, depending upon our individual attitudes and philosophies. By definition, anxiety and hope are determined by a moment that has yet to arrive—but how often do we pause to fully consider our relationship with the future? What apprehensions, expectations, and stories define our field of vision? And how do our private sensibilities square with the current collective mood?

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful is a living catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow. Located at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, the participatory installation is a collaboration between Candy Chang and James A.Reeves that invites visitors to share personal anxieties and hopes on vellum cards and hang them on the collective wall. On view for the duration of 2018, the installation will grow into a monolithic barometer of the year, where visitors can glean the prevailing mood and explore thousands of individual meditations that range from personal, local, and specific statements to political, theoretical, and spiritual reflections.

Over 55,000 responses were received: I’m anxious because… I feel so much responsibility in my own potential, our nation is more socially fragmented than before, I’m afraid of being yelled at online, my dad died and I’m afraid I’ll be sad forever. I’m hopeful because… I’m ready to fall in love again, he seems committed about his recovery, my mother is becoming more accepting of others, music saves my life a little every day.

Chang and Reeves are now working with psychologists, sociologists, information designers, and researchers to examine the themes, what they say about us and our culture today, and strategies to weather the struggles of modern life. Explore many more responses on our project page.

2018, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY. Vellum, wood, acrylic, 31′ w x 12′ h. Project management by Jane Hsu. Exhibition design management by John Monaco. Installation assistance by Robert Paash, David Wilburn, Andrea Pemberton, and Muoi Ly.