Confessions is a participatory installation that explores the design of safe spaces for catharsis, consolation, and intimacy in the heart of the Las Vegas strip. Inspired by Japanese Shinto shrine prayer walls, Post Secret, and Catholicism, Chang invited people to write and submit a confession on a wooden plaque in the privacy of confession booths in The Cosmopolitan’s public P3 Studio gallery. She arranged the anonymous plaques on the gallery walls, painted select responses on 4’ x 4’ canvases, and orchestrated the space with an original ambient score by Oliver Blank. By the end of the exhibit, over 1,500 confessions were displayed in the room.
The confessions, which can all be viewed on the project site, include: I still love her two girlfriends and five years later, I’m scared I’ll die alone, I eat too much cheese, Came here married to one girl and left married to two girls, I sold heroin to my friend and it ruined his life, I stole over 15,000 from the company I work for, I like porn more than my husband does, I’m not as confident as the world thinks I am, I’m in the military and I’m scared to die, I don’t know what I am doing and I’m running out of time.
The introspective project reappropriated religious rituals for secular environments and revealed how quickly people exposed their struggles and vulnerability when given the right conditions. Chang believes our personal anxieties extend into our public life and many of the conflicts in our communities come from a lack of trust and understanding. This personal anonymous space offered a gentle first step towards honesty and vulnerability in public, which can lead to trust and understanding. These are essential elements for a more compassionate society, which can not only help us create better places together but can also help us become our best selves. Commissioned by Art Production Fund and the Cosmopolitan.
2012, Las Vegas, NV. Wood, aluminum, acrylic on canvas, string, fabric, ink. 1000 sq ft gallery space. Installation assistance by Abraham King, Kristina Kassem, Wendalyn Lewis, Caroline Oh. Organized by Yvonne Force Villareal, Krista Salley, Lily Tran, Casey Fremont Crowe, Sheila Marcello, Cory Mervis.