A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

A catalogue of the ways we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow.

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 for the duration of 2018, the participatory installation invited visitors to share personal anxieties and hopes on vellum cards and hang them on the collective wall. Over time the installation grew into a monolithic barometer of the year, where visitors could glean the prevailing mood and explore thousands of individual meditations that ranged from personal, local, and specific statements to political, theoretical, and spiritual reflections.

Candy Chang
& James A. Reeves

The Rubin Museum of Art
New York, New York

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.

Over 55,000 responses were received: I’m anxious because… I feel so much responsibility in my own potential. The news is relentlessly awful. I’m afraid of being yelled at online. We’re trading privacy for convenience. My dad died and I’m afraid I’ll be sad forever. This weather is not normal. I want everyone to like me. Our nation is more socially fragmented than before. I’m hopeful because… I survived hard times. I’m ready to fall in love again. The youth are marching. People believe in my voice. My mother is becoming more accepting of others. There is still so much music left to discover. What I focus on always grows. People are openly talking about mental health. 

Chang and Reeves are currently 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. They are also working on making this data available to others for further research. Explore selected responses below.

Responses from the Installation
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