Instilling a sense of discovery, this installation beckons people toward it to share their thoughts and feelings, as well as hearing those of their peers, in an anonymous way. The message you leave will only be heard once by one other person, then deleted forever. Inside each glowing jar is a trapped message that someone else left behind – maybe a secret, maybe a love note, maybe an insult. By opening the jar, you can free their message, releasing it forever. When a jar is dark, it’s your turn to leave your mark for someone else to discover.
This art installation was developed as a part of the semester-long student-pitched project flux at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center. We explored the methods of how an installation within a space can connect people.
This project was supported in part by funding form the Carnegie Mellon University Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.
The installation consists of a wooden platform mounted to a wall, on which 16 frosted glass jars are mounted. The jars contain a core that houses the electronics, including a speaker, custom PCB, and lighting elements. The interior electronics can detect whether the jar’s lid is opened or closed, play a stored message when the lid is opened, and record a new message. The lid of the jar acts as a switch, connected via flexible conductive webbing, to indicate whether the jar is opened or closed.
The jars emit a gentle twinkling glow when a message is stored within to encourage guests to interact with them. We used a warm white LED programmed to twinkle as though there were fireflies trapped inside. The polyfill diffuses the light, making the inside of the frosted jar look like a cloud.
All our materials are flame retardant and safe for people to use.