JANE MULFINGER & GRAHAM BUDGETT: REGRETS Cambridge 2005 [video 15.48]
Recipient of a major research award from Microsoft Research Cambridge [MSRC]

REGRETS Cambridge [Linz, Paris, Santa Barbara]: an interactive archive, public conceptual artwork and action-research study regarding the human capacity for remorse

regrets.org.uk ยท team@regrets.org.uk

NOVEMBER 2005, ENGLAND: Mobile units roaming public space in Cambridge collect and display anonymous regrets from the public to comprise a sociological database of time- & site-specific sentiment in the community. REGRETS Cambridge is an interactive archive, a public conceptual artwork, and an action research 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. The Cambridge Public will 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 Cambridge 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...

below: regrets.org.uk screenshot

below: Cambridge Guildhall [City Hall] animated projections