Rubin Museum of Art, New York

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

A living catalogue of the ways in which 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?

Rubin Museum of Art, New York

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful is a living catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow. Now on view at the Rubin Museum of Art throughout 2018, this participatory installation invites visitors to share their anxieties and desires on the collective wall. This ongoing collaboration with Candy Chang will grow into a monolithic barometer where visitors can glean the prevailing mood while they explore thousands of responses that range from personal, local, and specific reflections to political, theoretical, and spiritual statements.

Rubin Museum of Art, New York

Over 13,000 responses have been received in the first three months and they continue to accumulate: I’m anxious because I feel so much responsibility in my 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’ve 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 things will get better.

The responses will be documented over the course of the year at Ritual Fields, and Chang and Reeves are speaking with psychologists, sociologists, and researchers about possible projects to examine the emerging themes and the strategies we use to reckon with uncertainty.

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