Inspired by Alain de Botton’s idea that Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall be adapted in new ways for modern times, digital storytellers Alan Donohoe and Steven Parker created “The Waiting Wall” in a busy English train station during the Brighton Digital Festival. The huge display projected the deepest fears and most personal confessions of travelers who submitted them anonymously for all to read.
Donohoe and Parker hoped the wall anonymously broadcasting our inner woes would “remind us that we are none of us alone in…our troubles and lamentations.”
We found some reminders heartening — for example, to know other people aren’t that productive during their workday — and a therapeutic aspect in seeing how many people suffer and/or share our fears. But we found ourselves recoiling at the idea of being bombarded with so much angst, especially when traveling.
Some of it pretty selfish…
…and ultimately for us, strangely Big Brotherish. We wonder why confessions are often so dark…
Leslie Koch, who alerted us to the installation, reminded us of another public confessional that we find uplifting and curiously energizing. Candy Chang’s brilliant Before I Die. In this interactive public art project, people were invited to fill in the blanks to a phrase she stenciled on the wall of an abandoned house: Before I die I want to___________. It is all about possibility. Read more about it here.
The Waiting Wall has morphed into a website, where you can upload your own message, and read what others post.
What are your thoughts about these different forms of public confessional? Where and when are they useful?