Candy Chang’s Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection invites interaction and introspection in Philadelphia. Officially unveiled on July 5 on South Juniper Street, the 30-foot mural was months in the making.

Chang engaged neighborhood residents in the creation of the mural, made up of more than 200,000 fingerprints. At street level, beneath the mural image, is a six-foot dial, flanked on either side by 64 fables printed on the wall. These stories are inspired by the I Ching, an ancient Chinese text often consulted on matters of moral decision-making. Passersby are invited to approach Atlas of Tomorrow’s dial with a question in mind, give it a spin, then read the story the dial points to for wisdom and, as Chang puts it, “poetic guidance.”

Atlas of Tomorrow is a collaborative project, created with Philadelphia’s Porch Light Initiative, which seeks to strengthen community health through art that addresses themes of mental health, trauma, and spirituality. Chang’s adaptation of the I Ching taps into the spiritual and encourages pedestrians to take a philosophical pause, as each fable’s archetypes highlight our common humanity.

“I’m interested in how public space can provide value to people and help them make sense of the beauty and tragedy of life,” Chang told the Associated Press. “Creating emotional spaces where people can be honest and vulnerable can lead to trust and understanding. Making better places can help us become our best selves.”

Read about more work by Candy Chang that explores mental health in FORWARD Issue #1.

Amelia Foster is a freelance writer in Minneapolis.

From Public Art Review #55, where this article appeared as “Dialing for Wisdom.”