03 May 2006

Expressions of Sadness & Secrets on the Web

Onepotmeal had a link yesterday to The Saddest Thing I Own. Contributors submit a photograph and a written explanation about the saddest object they own. Some of the items seem benign, but the narratives can be gut-wretching; tales of lost loves, lost lives, and haunting memories.

Scrolling through the site, I couldn't help but think of similarities to PostSecret, where contributors submit a piece of art on a postcard to reveal a secret. And, yet, for the last day I've been trying to figure out why these sites have a different emotional impact on me. A few posts on The Saddest Thing brought me close to tears, yet I felt like I was rubbernecking at a car wreck. Real life a little too upclose and personal.

Not every secret on PostSecret is traumatic, though many are. Some are witty, some fun, some titillating -- but not necessarily sad. Like The Saddest Thing, the artist is anonymously sharing an emotional experience with the reader. Perhaps it is the limitations of the format that forces the creator to judiciously choose words and images that makes the experience more profound. Maybe it is the catharsis of PostSecret: no matter how horrendous the secret, there seems to be a healing in the revelation the postcard art contains.

I don't find that yet in the first posts in The Saddest Thing. It just seems sad.

1 comment:

Rebecca Jane said...

Thank you for this insightful review. I appreciate your blog.