The Waiting Wall in Brighton Train Station

Amy McKeever
It’s a modern take on Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.
It’s a modern take on Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.

Between checking train schedules and track numbers, commuters at a British train station have become voyeurs into the private confessions of their fellow travelers this week. On a flickering message board in Brighton Station called The Waiting Wall, people from all around the world are revealing doubts about their romantic partners, anxieties about their own capacities for goodness, and questioning their sexual identities.

Inspired by philosopher Alain de Botton’s idea to create an electronic version of the Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, creators Alan Donohoe and Steven Parker launched The Waiting Wall as part of this week’s Brighton Digital Festival. Through their website, anyone can submit a secret, confession, or intimate feeling to flash up on the station board. The idea is for commuters to reflect upon and perhaps identify with the thoughts and feelings of others and “find consolation from the fact that none of us are alone in our private world of innermost thoughts.”

Donohoe explained to The Guardian that the idea for the board came to him when he was himself waiting for a train at Brighton Station, seeing the transience of a train station and its ad-filled walls as the perfect space to infuse with thoughtful human reflections. You can also read those same messages online, a digital window into others’ grief over loss, fears about dying, or anxieties about the loss of creativity and opportunity. There are loves lost (“I miss you and I will never not be in love with you”) and loves doubted (“As much as I love my partner, I fear for our life together, or more accurately, the withering away of mine.”)

The Waiting Wall will be broadcasting in Brighton Station all this week through September 28. Meanwhile, Donohoe and Parker hope to someday expand the concept to other cities in the United Kingdom, and internationally.