NOVEMBER 2005, ENGLAND:
Mobile units roaming public space in Cambridge collect and display anonymous
regrets from the public to comprise a sociological database of time-
& site-specific sentiment in the community. Regrets Cambridge is an
interactive archive, a public conceptual artwork, and a study of communally
shared, but typically private, recollections.
Instant feedback to the individual user based on other locals' similar
concerns is algorithmically generated and calculated to 'share the burden'.
A wireless connection queries a central database located on a remote server.
Using keywords from the submitted text and other self-describing user
input to define similarity, the server returns to the user the
five most similar of others' regrets. An incongruous element to some of
the returns lends a thought-provoking, poetic character to the
Through existing signage, text, network, and broadcast facilities, random
selections and groupings of regrets sampled from the archive
are made public across the city. The Cambridge Public will encounter
fellow citizens' most personal misgivings in the spaces usually occupied
by communal information, advertising, publicity, & entertainment.
By engaging local users in revelations of a problematic but potentially
constructive nature, REGRETS Cambridge aims to bring specificities of
individual lives, in this case personal regrets, into the realm of public
debate, shared learning, and community. In particular, remorse is
seen here as a positive entity, incorporating recall, reflection, error
correction and learning. Far from retrograde, remorse promises
change for the better...