Have you ever wanted to finally get a deep-held secret out in the open?
If so, who do you turn to? When do you tell? Instead of confiding in a therapist, there’s a new way to acknowledge these facts we once preferred to keep hidden.
Candy Chang, an artist, TED Senior Fellow, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine, created a way for people to share their secrets in a public art project called Confessions. Instead of their secrets randomly escaping through Freudian slips and drunken rambles, Chang invited people to anonymously reveal their hush-hush admissions, as well as see the confessions of the rest of society, at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas.
Wait, don’t people usually go to Sin City to keep secrets?
“When you think about Vegas, you think about ‘What happens here, stays here,'” Chang says. “It made me wonder, what would I want to know from all the people around me in Vegas? Was there a way we could actually share our confessions in a safe way in public space together?”
Over the summer, Chang created a place where people could inscribe their confessions on wooden plaques behind a curtain – in private. This project was inspired by Catholicism, Shinto shrine prayer walls and Post Secret, a community art project where people anonymously mail in their secrets.
These plaques were then hung up on the gallery walls every day. By the end of the exhibit, over 1,500 confessions had been displayed. Chang also selected a few responses and painted them onto large canvases. The confessions were all over the map and reflected every aspect of life: I’m afraid I’ll die young just like my mother, I stole over $15,000 from the company I work for, I’m in love with my best friend, and I eat too much cheese.
“Part of it is catharsis, part of it is voyeuristic,” explains Chang. “But the part I’m particularly interested in is just seeing that we’re not alone. We’re not alone in the things that we struggle with in our lives.”
Think about it: we pass countless people by on the streets every single day. What do we know about them? Not much. By collecting these confessions, the project was able to provide people with a reason to not feel so alone in this great big world.
All of us are sharing the same experiences. We all struggle to lead a satisfying life – one of happiness and prosperity. Confessions created a refuge for people seeking to let go of a clandestine they had been carrying around with them. Hopefully, after confessing, they felt free.
So, what would you like to confess?
Also, feel free to check out her other projects and be inspired!