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.

Candy Chang
Candy Chang

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?

via Mashable

Thanks Leslie!

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4 replies on “The Waiting Wall + Public Platforms for Emotion

  1. I would prefer not to judge these statements. Being on display at a train station it is not unlikely to find someone who knows what they are talking about , even with the not so pleasant ones ( those were confessions only ? Not general remarks? ) . Maybe reading this makes someone feel less alone , less ‘bad’ -and at the same time stop in their tracks .. Everyone we walk by, a whole life, full of wonderful ideas and difficult decisions .

    .. breathe !

  2. YES, a good number of people were enthralled by the signs. I would have liked to see some that were more positive to balance the constant (seeming) repetition of anxiety…
    Are these the PREDOMINENT messages in people’s minds/hearts?

  3. Well, it is modeled after the Wailing Wall . and while i think that sticking the occasional note of gratitude in there might be appropriate _ The heart always says thank you immediately . Yet one might sometimes struggle to turn over their worries and needs to the power they believe is taking care of the world , of them . so many people feeling unworthy, it causes a lot of trouble.

    Also, if there is free will, we need ask for help or else it would be interference. This is one way .
    I do like the idea of having it say ‘remember to smile’, ‘you’re going to be just fine’ (prefer to hear it from someone) while i see lots of these reminders around me already .
    I’d also like a ‘you know what, i’m crabby and i’m not going to hide it’-wall . Just the tiny-little punk in me. No harm intended .
    Sense of humor helps , i guess . my fave kind of medicine . Sometimes it gets lost. So i am actually quite grateful for all heartfelt reminders, from (late night-) comedy to sports etc,
    Also your site brings the occasional smile and inspiration.

    Ta & all the best & fun

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