We invited people to confess their deepest, darkest secrets and over 500 of them showed up.
The confessional as a location for storytelling was the foundational idea that we used to construct the Revolver event “CONFESS.” But there was more than just confessionals: the world premier of WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS, an interactive work by attorney/artist Emily Baxter (that’s since gone internet famous); listening booths and rooms designed by Emilie Robinson, Revolver‘s art director, fabricated by Rogue Arc; artwork from Chris Larson; music from DJ Shannon Blowtorch; apothecary bottles filled with absolutions written by strangers, and a more. It was a very special night.
Behind the scenes, CONFESS was the most ambitious project that Revolver has attempted (or will attempt for a long time). For instance, we took a temporary lease on the 16K foot warehouse space from the Thorp Building. Meaning we created our own venue. Which explains why we had multiple meetings with the Minneapolis Fire Department.
In the end, a ton of people came out and we were able to raise a bunch of money for Rock Star Supply Company, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills and homework.
Note: “bunch” is a relative term.
The Creative Process
I. The Kernel of the Idea
It came driving to a friend’s house. I saw myself walking down a dark corridor and coming to a small booth where there was a telephone on a desk. I sat down. In front of me, there was a glass wall—like one you’d see in a prison—but it was burned so I could only see the outline of the person I would talk to. I picked up the phone and they started telling me their deepest, darkest secrets. When they finished, I told them mine.
2. The Development
It was too difficult to get a prison and it was too difficult to figure out how to preserve anonymity without making it too arduous. For instance, we played with the idea of having two separate parties for a long time—two entrances, two bars, etc.—where the only interaction the parties had were the booths. The other coincidence was that I mentioned the idea to a friend who was working on a project called WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS.
3. The Conclusion
A four-booth pipeline, one that primed participants to want to tell their story. Participants began in Booth 1 by listening to stories collected by Emily Baxter’s WE ARE ALL CRIMINAL project. Booth 2 was a room where an actor confessed (real confession) to you across a table. Booth 3 you could listen to stories collected that evening from folks in the room. Booth 4 you confessed to Emily Baxter, who recorded them and gave them to us for processing and piping back into the third booth.
What It Looked Like
THE TAKE AWAY
Does this look a project that you’re gearing up for? Think our skills and abilities might come in handy? Let’s talk.