Secret Dunny Box


The Secret Dunny Box is a bathroom installation that lets you listen to a secret message left for you by the previous visitor, but only if you leave a message for the next person. It was installed at BAR SK in Melbourne as part of the Artworld Videogames exhibition.

"Dunny" is Australian slang for bathroom or an outhouse. The Secret Dunny Box plays into the slightly embarrassing intimacy you experience with other people when you use the same restroom. The box relays the previous message to you, not in the person's voice, but rendered into text-to-speech, possibly inaccurately. The effect is a public-yet-private game of Telephone between you and a stranger with whom you have at least one thing in common.

Allowing strangers to leave unmoderated, anonymous messages that will be played publicly is risky business that should generally be avoided, but BAR SK was a rare venue where the community was strong and respectful enough where I felt that an experimental art project like this could work. Months after the installation was finished, I finally looked at all the messages people left, and they were mostly endearing messages of support, or poop jokes.

You can see all the messages left with the Secret Dunny Box over the course of the installation here.

The Secret Dunny Box is built with an AIY Voice Kit, powered by a Raspberry Pi, coded in Python.

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