A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

A living catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Candy Chang & James A. Reeves

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?

The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York, February 2018 - January 7, 2019

31' w x 15' h
Vellum, wood, acrylic.

Project management by Jane Hsu. Exhibition design management by John Monaco. Installation assistance by Robert Paash, David Wilburn, Andrea Pemberton, and Muoi Ly.

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 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 have been received so far and they continue to accumulate: I’m anxious because I feel so much responsibility in my own potential. I’m overworked and underpaid. The news is relentlessly awful. We’re trading privacy for convenience. I’m afraid of being yelled at online. My dad died and I’m afraid I’ll be sad forever. Our nation is more socially fragmented than before. It feels like fascism is closing in. Student debt. Lack of gun control. People are more open to expressing their hatred. We’re in the age of Trump. Things don’t always get better with time.

I’m hopeful because I’m ready to fall in love again. People believe in my voice. Support has always been given to me in dark hours. The youth are marching. My mother is becoming more accepting of others. My children are making their way in the world. Music saves my life a little every day. I survived hard times. Multiple generations of women in my family have expressed that they feel empowered. I believe in inner peace. What I focus on always grows. We are becoming more in tune with our emotions. We resist and we rise. People are openly talking about mental health. Trump is our president. I know that things will get better.

The responses will be documented over the course of the year, and Chang and Reeves are working with psychologists, sociologists, and researchers to examine the themes, what they say about us and our culture today, and the strategies we use to reckon with uncertainty. Explore selected responses below and participate at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City through 2018. The installation ends January 7, 2019.

Responses from the Installation

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

A living catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow.