The Atlas of Tomorrow

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2016 – Present

Among the many aspects that determine overall health, emotional wellness is often neglected and taboo to discuss. What if tools to improve our mental health were embedded within the city’s fabric for the public good? One tool that has helped Chang and many others is the I Ching, an ancient text that provides practical wisdom which can be applied to any situation. Inspired by this text, The Atlas of Tomorrow is an interactive mural for self-examination. Passersby are invited to consider a situation in their lives where they seek clarity and spin a six-foot dial to select one of the sixty-four fables along the wall for poetic guidance. The stories and artwork evoke an inner world of archetypes that can help us examine our struggles, behaviors, and opportunities for growth. By reflecting upon this “town in our head,” we might gain new perspective on the role we play in our relationships with others, as well as our relationship with ourselves.

Designed with the idea of art as meditation, The Atlas of Tomorrow consists of over 200,000 dots that were finger painted by Chang and the Philadelphia community. Concept and artwork by Candy Chang; stories written by James A. Reeves. A collaboration with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and Broad Street Ministry. Featured in the 2016- 2017 exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

2016 – Present, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (South Street one block east of Broad Street. Address: 533 South Juniper Street). Acrylic, polytab fabric, aluminum, stainless steel, high-density polyethylene, 32′ h x 34′ w. Interactive dial fabrication by New American Public Art. Project management by Dave Kyu, Laure Biron, Evan Thornburg, and Jessica Lewis-Turner. Installation assistance by James Shuster, James Burns, Kien Nguyen, and Adam Alli.

Spinning the dial. Photo by New American Public Art.
Candy Chang and James Shuster experimenting with painting methods. Photo by James Burns.
Chang and the Philadelphia community finger painting the mural at Broad Street Ministry. Photo by the Mural Arts Program.
Finger painting the mural. Photo by the Mural Arts Program.
Chang installing the mural with James Shuster. Photo by Adam Alli.
Launch of the mural with Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services Commissioner Dr. Arthur C. Evans, Mural Arts founder and Executive Director Jane Golden, artist Candy Chang, and Councilman Mark Squilla, 2016 | Photo by Photo by Carol Bova
Candy Chang jumping in honor of of Mural Arts founder Jane Golden’s unbridled energy at the mural opening, 2016 | Photo by Carol Bova
Photos by Candy Chang unless credited otherwise