Mask and Unmask

by post_author

What do you
have to hide from someone you will never see again? For this idea, I went off
the supposition that you would have nothing to hide. For this encounter a group
of people would meet in a room. They would all wear masks to hide their faces
and dress in dark clothing.  Each person
gets assigned a number upon arrival. There are then a series of rounds, each
lasting a few minutes. For each round, you get randomly paired up with another
person. For each round, you ask each other a question. You can also simply
speak what is on your mind. You are not allowed to give your name or any other
information that could identify you.

The
questions you can ask would be limited. No small-talk or superficial questions
allowed. The interaction is meant to be piercing and revealing. Examples of
questions include:

-What was
your most painful experience?

-What was
your childhood like?

-What is
one of your dreams?

-What is your
darkest secret? 

If there is something specific you’d like to share you can also do that.

The events
will take place in cities; in smaller population centers anonymity cannot be promised.
The venues will be boardrooms that are unutilized at night (hopefully all
corporate secret security issues can be worked out). The signup would take
place online. A mask would be sent to you and you would be instructed to put it
on a few blocks from the rendezvous spot. The ambiance would be quiet, with low
lighting. Ideally, people would be spread-out enough that no-one else would hear
you. In practice, these encounters could be an interpretation of a modern,
secular confession booth. 

Hopefully
the result is that both the speaking and the listening is cathartic. Listening lets
you empathize with other people. It makes you think of what people are under
their appearances. There are too few opportunities in life to genuinely learn
about people. Because these are real people and real stories, there isn’t even
the suspension of disbelief that TV shows and movies have.

For this idea,
I was inspired by The Journey, a video game I never played. It’s a short video
game with a deliberately slow pace. To finish some elements, you need to work
with a stranger online. There is no way to know who they are: it’s a fleeting
connection and collaboration between two unknowns. 

Sources: 

Mask :
http://previews.123rf.com/images/semolina/semolina1209/semolina120900024/15461853-Beautiful-elegant-venetian-mask-Stock-Photo-mask-carnival-venice.jpg

 

Mask Silhouette: https://friedgreenkimchidotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/venetian-masks-zanni.jpg?w=1000

 

The Journey :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_(2012_video_game)

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