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I Wish This Was was inspired by vacant storefronts. There are many where Candy lives in New Orleans. There are also many people who need and want things, including a full-service grocery store in her neighborhood. What if we could easily voice what we want, where we want it? How can we influence the businesses and services in our neighborhoods? As an experiment, Candy created fill-in-the-blank stickers that say “I wish this was ____.” She placed boxes of free stickers in businesses around the city and posted grids of blank stickers and a permanent marker on vacant storefronts, so anyone walking by could fill one out. The stickers are vinyl and they can be easily removed without damaging property. Responses ranged from the functional to the poetic: I wish this was… a butcher shop, a community garden, a bike rack, an affordable farmer’s market, a taco stand, a place to sit and talk, Brad Pitt’s house, full of nymphomaniacs with PhDs, a source of tasty healthy food I could afford, my art gallery, your dream, Heaven. It’s a fun, low-barrier tool to provide civic input onsite, and the responses reflect the hopes, dreams, and colorful imaginations of different neighborhoods. The project was created as part of the Ethnographic Terminalia exhibit at DuMois Gallery and has since expanded to cities around the world. Stickers are still posted across New Orleans and are available for purchase online. The vinyl material ensures that future business owners can easily remove them, and slitted backs make it easy to peel and apply. Thanks to the Urban Innovation Fellowship from Tulane University and the Rockefeller Foundation, Candy and her colleagues are taking this idea a few steps further and developing an online tool called Neighborland to help us join forces, build on ideas together, and take next steps. To those concerned about the subjunctive mood (“I wish this was” vs. “I wish this were”): Long discussions on the topic suggest that both usages are acceptable. This project is about striking up a casual conversation in the city, and it just sounds right in this context. November 2010 and beyond, Vinyl stickers, 4.5″ x 3″. New Orleans, LA. – Candy Chang

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About Photography By Pixie

Photographer, graphic designer and fractal artist from Cambridge UK. Loves photographing bright colours, creating fun designs and making psychedelic fractal art in adobe photoshop.

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