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Public Diary Calls For Voicemails From Strangers

Public Diary Calls For Voicemails From Strangers

Jeff Lam’s Voicemail Diaries project asks strangers to contribute an entry to an audio diary by leaving an anonymous voicemail of private thoughts.

Daniela Walker

Art director and artist Jeff Lam is intrigued by strangers. In 2011, he created a video – The Nicest Place on the Internet – which anyone who was feeling blue could watch to receive a virtual hug from strangers. Now, he has set up Voicemail Diaries, a new online project where people call an actual phone number and leave a voicemail in response to Lam’s series of questions.

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The first entry asks ‘Who are you most grateful for and why?’ People can call in anonymously and share whatever is on their minds on the subject (until November 8th) and Lam will compile them into a podcast. He says:

For the project, I wanted to let people be honest, and truly express their feelings. I wanted to let people say things to the world that is from the heart and almost a gut reaction to the prompt. These thoughts seems to be most private, like the first entry “Who are you most grateful for?” People might not want to let the world know that, but through an anonymous voicemail, you can really say what you want.

Lam was inspired to use voicemail as his medium because of its antiquated, almost nostalgic quality. People no longer leave voicemails; rather they send text messages. And yet a voicemail has a much more intimate quality and often results in unintended rambling.

When you leave a voicemail, there’s a warmth to the voice. Your voice is personal and there’s thought there. You can really hear and feel the person’s excitement, sadness, joy,  love and it’s real.

Take a listen to the first entry:


Jeff Lam // Voicemail Diaries

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