What If Your Deepest, Darkest Secrets Were Displayed For Thousands To See?

Posted in Featured
at 2015.10.24
With 0 Comments

Waiting for a train, even if you have a distraction, can lead to some surprisingly introspective thoughts. In the company of hundreds of faceless strangers, the mind has plenty of time to wander. There’s something about being in transit that turns everyday people into philosophers.

That’s the feeling that software developer Alan Donohoe and designer Steven Parker wanted to capture when they created The Waiting Wall and put it up for public display in England’s bustling Brighton Station. It looks like a board that would display arrivals and departures, but instead, it broadcasts deep, dark, anonymous secrets.

The idea came to Donohoe while he was waiting for a train in Brighton Station.

The idea came to Donohoe while he was waiting for a train in Brighton Station.

The pair asked people to divulge their secrets anonymously online so that they could be displayed on the board.

The finished product now hangs above the actual train times.

The finished product now hangs above the actual train times.

Many messages take on the lonely, melancholy tones of late-night confessions.

Many messages take on the lonely, melancholy tones of late-night confessions.

They speak of the fear, anxiety, and trepidation that we’ve all felt at one point or another.

These secrets tell stories of betrayal, infidelity, addiction, and personal failure.

These secrets tell stories of betrayal, infidelity, addiction, and personal failure.

We all understand the pain of these feelings in our own way.

Why such a melancholy topic? Well, Donohoe says that the project has two sides. On one hand, it’s a statement about feeling pressured by society to be happy at all times. He sees this as an impossible, unhealthy goal.

But at the same time, the brutal honesty of these confessions may help people feel less alone. We all have secrets that we’d rather not talk about, but at least we’re not the only ones.

Donohoe was inspired by the work of author and philosopher Alain de Botton, who proposed an electronic, global version of Jerusalem’s famous Wailing Wall that would be accessible to all people.

The creative developer hopes that his project will help people feel “comforted by having a space where they can share these thoughts.” He continues by pointing out that “some of life’s biggest questions don’t have any answers, but there’s some consolation in knowing that we haven’t been singled out for persecution, and that we’re all battling the same things.”

While there have been some instances of spam, Donohoe is happy with how honest and forthcoming most people have been.

While there have been some instances of spam, Donohoe is happy with how honest and forthcoming most people have been.

He’s glad to give people a safe space to talk about the things that keep them up at night.

He's glad to give people a safe space to talk about the things that keep them up at night.

(via Distractify, Brighton Digital Festival, The Guardian)

The Waiting Wall will be on display through September 27 at Brighton Station, with regularly changing secrets supplied via the project’s website, where you can submit a secret of your own anonymously, of course. It’s part of the Brighton Digital Festival, which celebrates digital innovation in Brighton and Hove.

Comments are closed.