The Anonymous Heartache Project

An Experimental Transmedia Documentary

Mission Statement

The Anonymous Heartache Project (AHP) is a transmedia documentary experience that explores human intimacy through the examination of personal messages that were never meant for public eyes.

AHP started with a call for submissions posted on 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.

In order to deconstruct and universalize the deeply personal content of the messages being examined, I had the letters read aloud by anonymous third parties. The process became a study on the syntax of mediated language and the way our communications are influenced and interpreted through apparatus and emotion. I was fascinated by the way each individual reader brought a unique nuance to the content of the letters. In order to explore the power of that nuance I expanded on the project by inviting artists to use the recordings to create short films. The result is a collaborative ongoing documentary about the heartache of loss and all the exquisite pain that comes with it.

You can browse through the entries in our blog, Love/Hate Letters.

You can hear the letters being read aloud in our Audio Archive.

Explore the Video Vault to see artist interpretations of the letters.

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


  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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