REGRETS Santa Barbara   Mobile Arts Lab II, The Container Project   contribute regrets    español

an interactive archive, public artwork, and action-research study regarding the human capacity for remorse

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
La Casa de la Raza, Santa Bárbara
UC Institute for Research in the Arts, UCSB
International Humanities Center, UCSB

Mobile Arts Lab II, The Container Project*

• contribute your anonymous regrets
• get feedback of similar regrets
• watch for regrets on public display

summer 2007: mobile units
roaming Santa Barbara, California:

Casa de la Rasa, Milpas Street,
University of California,
Santa Barbara Museum of Art,
local schools, beaches, and other
public space in Santa Barbara

SUMMER 2007, CALIFORNIA: Mobile units roaming public space in Santa Barbara collect and display anonymous regrets from the public to comprise a sociological database of time- & site-specific sentiment in the community. REGRETS Santa Barbara is an interactive archive, a public 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 user feedback.

Through existing signage, text, network, and broadcast facilities, random selections and groupings of regrets sampled from the archive are made public across the city. Locals 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 Santa Barbara 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...


*Funding for Mobile Arts Lab II was provided by a generous grant from the City of Santa Barbara Community Arts Grant Program, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the UC Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the UC Santa Barbara Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and J Staal Storage Solutions and involved:

- rebuilding of the pull out unit that anchors the exhibition space of the shipping container
- creation of a 'screening room' within the container
- reconceptualization of Jane Mulfinger & Graham Budgett's REGRETS project for the mobile space of the container and creation/installation of the new work

In collaboration with artist Billy Hood [Chief Fabricator]