I attended the PostSecret event in Toronto last week, so far the lone Canadian date. Frank Warren, the website’s creator and “The Most Trusted Stranger in America”, gave a lengthy but engrossing talk on the origins of the project, the behind-the-scenes look into how it works, amongst other things, and showed a multimedia presentation. After everything, he signed books for people (yours truly included!). It was quite a turn out!
I pee in the shower, which actually happens to be the most sent in secret, is among the many secrets shared at the first ever Toronto PostSecret Event. It was the first outdoor event for Frank Warren, happening in the park right beside The Ontario College of Art and Design. Many, many people turned out to cram into the park, with everyone sitting around on the mucky grass and concrete path. Originally said to start at 8pm, it ended up starting quite a bit later than that as the sky had to darken in order for people to see the images projected onto a large white screen.
When it finally did start, Frank Warren came out and thanked everyone for coming to see him. He said he always felt weird about these events because he didn’t really think of PostSecret as his, but as everyone’s. It was a community project that would not be possible without their participation. And it’s true, that fact, but his idea of something so seemingly simple yet so extraordinary is in many ways ingenious. It started in 2004 as an idea for a community art project, for which he handed out 3,000 blank postcards to strangers, encouraging them to send him their most private secrets. The response was overwhemling. The first secret he received was a postcard with two shopping lists on it, with the words “I am struggling with what I’ve become”. The thing that I believe PostSecret visitors most enjoy about the site is the fact they can identify secrets of their own through other people’s secrets and that in turn provides a sense of togetherness, a feeling of a virtual community, amidst the [perhaps] alienation representative of modern life. We’ll never know who sent in that postcard with the words we have so long been hiding from ourselves but it lets us know that we aren’t alone. And that’s a nice, kind of therapeutic feeling.
Frank sorting out the postcards he received. Image courtesy of Frank Warren/Facebook.
A stack of postcards sent into PostSecret. Image courtesy of Frank Warren/Facebook.
Frank Warren’s secret
Crowd photos courtesy of modernmod on flickr.
Postcard secrets courtesy of PostSecret.com