Whoever said regret was pointless obviously did so before January 24th of this year, when a new website turned personal lamentations into a form of art.
February 8, 2013 | 8:44am
Miami resident Chris Barr is the man behind what might be the saddest website one can cruise this Valentine's Day. NoTimeForLove.com
is a virtual bulletin board on which users can sound their stories of relationship-related regret. For example, a 25-year-old user named "Darcy" from Washington, D.C. made this mournful post:
"I could have let myself be vulnerable, but instead I tricked myself into believing I didn't love you."
As an added, uh, bonus, the site gives you the option to snail mail your regret in postcard form to the person it stars. With this feature, just imagine how much you can rock the world of that old high school sweetheart who's now married and living in Prairie City, Iowa, with a house full of little fat-faced kids. All at no (monetary) cost to you!
Barr, who arrived in Miami six months ago to begin media work for the Knight Foundation, is a web designer, artist, and workaholic. His workaholism and the many missed romantic opportunities it's cost him, is, in fact, partially what inspired him to create No Time for Love. But the initial momentum began when the curator of an exhibition titled Art, Politics, and Sharing Since the 1990s at the Ackland Museum of Art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, approached Barr to commission a love-themed work.
This isn't the first web-based art project Barr has engaged in. His first big internet undertaking was titled Chris Barr is Available on Thursday
, a project that invited visitors to the site to "employ" Barr for an hour-long chunk of time on his "day off."
"The project was about authorship and how our daily lives are constructed. So I basically opened up Thursdays to be scheduled by anyone who wanted a piece of my time." He did this once a week for several months.
"We seem to think we're in control of our own lives and our own destinies. But this project was aimed at exploring how our lives move in relationship with others' and the demands that are put on us," he said.
As you might expect, some of his "employers" were a bit cruel. "I definitely shaved off my body hair at one point and did wacky things, like eating lots and lots of boiled eggs. But what was really interesting was that people used it to talk about things they cared about, because it was a public project."
So in addition to shearing off his chest fuzz, Barr's pro-bono Thursday tasks included giving blood, delivering flowers to nursing homes, and eating vegan lunches while reading about animal cruelty. "It was interesting to me to learn that art doesn't necessarily have to be about just delivering my message to people. If built right, it can also be a framework... in which people can insert a little bit of themselves in an interesting way. And that's something that I've continued to do with this new project."
The project is designed to inspire people to examine their past treatment of love and relationships and to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others, Barr said. "[We're] very good at filling all our time with things. And that means that love takes a back seat sometimes, which is really not a fantastic thing because they're an important part of our life, these relationships we build. Whether they're romantic relationships, or whether they're friends and family, they're really important to making us whole human beings and building the muscle of empathy that we take to the rest of our lives."
As mentioned above, Barr himself is no stranger to regret. Yes, his obsession with cramming as much productivity into each day has cost him a few romantic love interests. But Barr is most remorseful about failing to mend his relationship with his brother before his estranged sibling's suicide 10 years ago. This ongoing source of anguish prompted him to personally pen the first regret
on his site.
"I can't fix that now. That opportunity's passed. But I can think about how stupid it is to hold grudges," Barr said. "I'm interested in these stories as a beginning place to do things differently."
To post a regret and, if you wish, have a description of your woe mailed to its source free of charge, go to notimeforlove.com
and click "Submit a Regret" at the top of the page.