Lopez ‘08 creates ‘confession booth’
By Frank Santo
Published on Thursday, February 14, 2008
To complete a project for her Figure Sculpture class, Jennifer Lopez '08 had lofty aspirations: She hoped to create an experience that would inspire dialogue on campus and provide students with an outlet to anonymously express their innermost thoughts and feelings.
To execute this idea, Lopez designed and created an oversized rectangular booth that stood in the Hopkins Center for the Arts last week.
According to her plan, students would enter the booth one at a time and write down "confessions" on a piece of paper, and she would then type these confessions and use them to cover the booth.
The number of confessions exceeded the expected amount, prompting Lopez to keep the booth open for more two days than she had originally intended. After seven days, Lopez had covered the booth with the confessions of over 200 students.
"I wanted interactive art on campus because I think that it is so important that art be shared by all people," Lopez said. "Art is a reflection of life; if people can't experience it or be part of the project, then how is it really?"
Lopez updated the outside of the booth with typed versions of these confessions twice a day.
The statements displayed on the outside of the booth ranged from the personal to the grotesque. Some confessions detailed unrequited love or the loss of a family member while others documented masturbation and bestiality.
Although some of the confessors may not have intended their statements to be taken seriously by passing students, all of the confessions were equally compelling because each represented one person's unique form of expression, Lopez said.
Statements such as, "Sometimes I still call my dad to tell him how my day was. He's been dead for years," "I still can't accept that I was raped" and, "I still tell my girlfriend I love her, but haven't meant it in months," focused on the author's personal sentiments. Other confessions were of a lewd or sexual nature. Lopez did not discriminate between the confessions -- she typed and displayed all of them.
"If they needed it to be put up, I put it up. I don't think people expected me to put up all of those comments. Some of those comments people thought I'd toss," Lopez said.
Another of Lopez's goals for the booth was to remind typically overstressed and goal-oriented Dartmouth students that vulnerability is not something that needs to be hidden away, she said. Lopez said that she hoped that if students read about the insecurities and fears of their fellow students, they would be more willing to admit their own.
"Humans are naturally vulnerable, but in a prestigious school like Dartmouth people feel the need to only show their good side," said Lopez.