The Wailing Wall is a 187-foot ancient wall located in the Old City of Jerusalem. In Judaism, the site is believed to be the only remnant of the Holy Temple, and as such, a hallowed place for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage. Often, those who visit the wall write their prayers onto small pieces of paper and stick them between the wall's cracks and crevices. The wall is now teeming with miniature crumbled papers, each containing within them an individual's innermost truths. And there are a lot of papers; the tradition dates back to the 18th century.
A newer tradition, however, is "The Waiting Wall," an atheist's alternative to the Jewish tradition. The project, created by musician and technologist Alan Donohoe along with designer and technologist Steven Parker, was inspired by philosopher Alain de Botton, who originally championed for an electronic version of the divine Jewish destination in his book Religion for Atheists. This week, until Sept. 28, commuters traveling through the U.K.'s Brighton Station will be greeted with a visual display that replaces travel announcements and advertisements with anonymous hopes, fears, prayers and regrets.
"An electronic version of The Wailing Wall … would anonymously broadcast our inner woes," de Botton once said. "The wall would offer a basic yet infinitely comforting -- public acknowledgement that … none us are alone in the extent of our troubles."
Now, coinciding with the Brighton Digital Festival, "The Waiting Wall" will do just that. One message reads, "I constantly worry about people I love dying," another, "I'm 33 and have never been in a relationship. I feel like a freak." The messages, at once intensely personal and strangely universal, reveal how interconnected our innermost thoughts often are, suggesting we do not have to face our darkest burdens alone.
Somewhere between Post Secret and Yoko Ono's "Wishing Tree," "The Waiting Wall" offers a unique chance to speak your truth to individuals all over the world through the anonymous vessel of your very own keyboard. Whether or not you are in Brighton, visit "The Waiting Wall" website to submit your own message and view others'.
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