Bureau of Unclaimed Secrets

Havoc and Chris Miller, Mosaic 2014. Photo by Michael Dobson. Name/Burner Name Havoc

Where are you living currently? Indianapolis

When was your first burn? How did you find out about burns? Burning Man 2010 was my first burn. I first heard about Burning Man in 2003, but it took me seven years to get my shit together.

The keeper of secrets

Project Name and Description: My project is the Bureau of Unclaimed Secrets, an interactive secret exchange.

The Bureau of Unclaimed Secrets is an opportunity to explore and evolve thoughts and feelings. Part therapy, part interactive art, this installation allows participants to record and share their secrets. Participants are encouraged to write down their secrets on 3x5 cards (provided). The secrets are then filed for safekeeping with the Bureau, and the participant given a matching numbered tag, allowing the bearer to come back and access, change or destroy that secret. Participants are encouraged to gift tags to others and to come back throughout the burn to check on the evolution of their secret.


The Bureau of Unclaimed Secrets is highly interactive and often cathartic for participants. I love that the secrets evolve over time and that people can be deliberate and potentially strategic about who gets their secret.

Inspiration: I was highly inspired by the piece "Terrain" by Julianne Swartz. ("Terrain" is a site-specific sound installation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art that evokes secrets, whispers, and memories. The murmuring voices are largely indiscernible; however, in certain moments private intimacies can be distinguished, such as the words “I love you.”) The quiet, contemplative nature of the piece got me thinking about secrets and how we share them.

secrets2Time spent on project: For this incarnation, probably 20 hours of prep work, 40 hours during the event and 10 hours after the event matching people up to their unclaimed secrets.

Collaborators? Helpers/Assistant Builders? My fiancee, Chris Miller, was a huge help!

Challenges during the project: It's always a challenge to figure out the logistics of something like a secret exchange. Figuring out the mechanism by which people could give away a secret and let someone come back and claim it was a bit of a challenge, but once the idea of tokens came to me, it was just a matter of getting the materials and setting it all up.

“This was by far my favorite experience at Mosaic. There's just something so incredibly profound and freeing about this. Thank you both again for bringing this to us.”

Do you have a link to where people can learn more about your art? www.unclaimedsecrets.blogspot.com

Any words of advice for future art projects at Mosaic Experiment? Make a budget, make a timeline/plan, have at least one person who knows the project and can help you out in a pinch.


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