About two weeks ago, I spent a Saturday wandering around Kaiserslautern. I saw a small herd of people milling around what looked like a huge blackboard, which read "bevor ich sterbe." Out of those three words, I knew ich (I) so I was a bit confused. Some were sipping wine and others were just staring. I joined in on the staring. Some people wrote things in chalk on the sign. There was a person who looked to be taking donations. I was confused but took a picture.
I looked up what "bevor ich sterbe" means, which is "before I die." Later on I read that this is an art installation by American artist Candy Chang. Even better yet? She is a University of Michigan graduate (several family members have degrees from there and I've spent much time visiting the area as a teen/early 20something).
There is a large chalkboard in Am Altehnhof and a smaller one near Stiftsplatz and they will remain until the beginning of December. One night, I walked by and saw some chalk left out for people to use but I wasn't brave enough to write on it because I had no idea what it was at the time. Now that I know what it is, I will write what I want to do before I die. I am thankful that I have lived a full and happy life so there isn't too much left on that list.
Some teenagers didn't have any trouble writing on it. How do I know it's teenagers? Well, anyone who writes that she wants to "Fabio heiraten" with a heart after it probably isn't an adult. "Heiraten" means
to marry," by the way. Also, there's something else in the list; "haben" means "to have." Someone else wants to "Kartoffel." So, does that mean that he wants a potato or to perhaps dance the (mashed) potato? Or who knows; maybe it's German slang.
There is even a book out with pictures from other installations she's had. I don't think what my fellow city dwellers in KL wrote is really book worthy ;)