The Anonymous Heartache Project

An Experimental Oral History and Documentary Narrative

Mission Statement

The Anonymous Heartache Project is a collaborative documentary hybrid that explores the varied perceptions of human intimacy that transverse cultures and generations through the examination of personal messages that were never meant for public eyes.

The Anonymous Heartache Project started with a call for submissions posted on craigslist.org looking for people willing to submit any old/new letters, stories, emails, voicemails or any other medium that contains a message pertaining to some emotionally charged aspect of a personal relationship.  The result was a collection of letters, from unrelated anonymous sources, that were written in response to the heartache of love lost. To view submissions of Love/Hate letters click here.

In an attempt to deconstruct and universalize the deeply personal and intimate content of the messages being examined, the audio portion of this documentary project is comprised of the letters being read by anonymous third parties.  These readings have been archived on this site in their full content as a part of A.H.P.’s oral history project.  To listen to our Audio Archive click here.

We invite artists to use the recordings in the Audio archive as the inspiration for dramatic narrative or experimental visual interpretations of the content being read.  Each video is unique in style and specific to the artists explication on the content, formats include video, animation and found footage montage.  To watch the videos click here.

The Anonymous Heartache Project is an ongoing project, for more information on how to participate please see our open call for submissions.

5 Comments

  1. Thank you… I felt alone but after writing in and reading more i felt closure so Thanks

  2. I have written countless letters over the course of my life; i think it is one of the only ways I can approach someone I have an attraction for, and yet writing to them has never been successful. I think I began writing letters to people I was attracted to when i discovered a passion for Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. There is almost a need to for me to document the tragedy, especially when they haven’t yet played out.

  3. I listened the NPR interview last night with Erin. I had a reverse reaction after listening to the messages as it reminded me of my lost love and made feel all sad and lonely again. Even though I’ve moved on these messages made me real sad again. Strangely enough it listned over and over again like I was enjoying being hurt…
    Love the project though….

  4. I listened to The Story with Dick Gordon today and heard the interview with Ms. Culton. Here, I have spent all these years thinking that only I was thinking and/or writing and/or acting out these feelings from the heart. Was it only me who thought this way? My two thoughts: I have never received one of these messages…is there something wrong with me? Second, does one ever stop thinking about someone else in this way or is it simply a part of the way we human beings are?

  5. Right now I’m listening to NPR and the interview with Erin (?). She is talking about how she thinks these submissions make people feel less lonely, but these submissions (all lovely and strangely romantic), make me feel sad… my heart breaks. It reminds me of the one big heart break of my life and all the letters, emails, and phone calls and my heart breaks all over again.

    I recently emailed my lost love to try and reconnect, but that communication helped me put my life in perspective and finally move on. These letters make me feel heartbroken all over again even though intellectually I’m over the heartbreak.

    I love the project!

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