Final Phase of Project 3: F-NESS Survey Results, and Creating a Narrator in the Booth

Survey intro page for BLOG

To date, 208 people have take the F-NESS Survey. Each question was left blank by 3 – 5 people, meaning that no one question was fully answered by the total number of participants.

Many of the statistical percentages of answers were surprising for me to read, which only underscores how subjective the subject of forgiveness truly is, including the wide range of subjectivity and perceptions of the participants themselves.

I continue to be fascinated by this phase of the Forgiveness Project, though I am still hesitant to “force” any one meaning on to this research. I believe that for me the goal is to allow things to unfold as they will, to remain as neutral as possible to any outcomes, and to simply take in this public/private dialogue with a group of people whom I may or may not ever have met.

I feel this survey is as much for the participants to experience and think about privately, as it is for me to discover the vissicitudes of cultural behavior which lead to the ever-shifting phenomenon of forgiveness.

Here is a listing of the number of participants who chose either YES or NO for each individual answer, with “other” also listed:
Q1 If a child asked, could you explain what forgiveness is?
192Y+7N=199 / 7 other
Q2 Is forgiveness something we learn? 162Y+12N=174 / 32 other
Q3 Do you believe humanity’s capacity to seek, grant or demand forgiveness is innate? 90Y+77N=167 / 41 other
Q4 Do you think our ability to forgive has helped us evolve as a species?  161Y+26N=187 / 19 other
Q5 Have you ever felt deeply transformed by an act of forgiveness? 121Y+71N=192 / 12 other
Q6 Does forgiveness last? 107+19=126 / 82 other
Q7 Does forgiveness increase your capacity to love and be loved? 179Y+11N=190 / 17 other
Q8 Have you ever regretted forgiving someone? 40Y+149N=189/ 16 other
Q9 Have you ever forgiven someone against your will? 56Y+118N=174 / 34 other
Q10 Do you ever see yourself as a victim? 116Y+56N=172 / 34 other
Q11 When you know you’re wrong about something, is it hard for you to admit? 48Y+118N=166 / 42 other
Q12 Do family members always deserve forgiveness, no matter how heinous their actions?  42Y+131N=173 / 41 other
Q13 Can you imagine forgiving someone who has done you great physical or psychic harm?  113Y+47N=160 / 47 other
Q14 Do you think forgiveness is an illusion?  12Y+162N=174 / 31 other
Q15 Do you believe an act of forgiveness can change the world? 137Y+42N=179 / 36 other

Please Note: If you would like to observe the survey data for yourself, and/or read the “other” responses, please email me and I will send you my password and username for the site.

For the final phase of Project 3 I have devised the character of the Narrator, who would appear onscreen, as a friendly “official”,  in each private booth at the end of the F-NESS video. The Narrator says that she would like to ask the visitor 5 questions, asks if the visitor is willing to do this, and explains the method by which this can happen in the privacy of the booth.

She also invites the visitor to take the online F-NESS survey before they leave the installation, and explains that process as well.

The Narrator is calm, pleasant, neutral and slightly robotic; her movements and demeanor are reminiscent of an airline stewardess, who uses her hands and arms to point out emergency exits, locations and life-saving equipment in the plane, should an emergency occur; in this case the Narrator points out paper and pens, ipad stations and data projections. She briefly and efficiently instructs visitors in simple verbal cues they will use to “begin” and “pause” between each question, allowing as much time as needed to think about, or write about, their answers. When the visitor is done and leaves the booth a circuit is triggered (by web cam or infrared etc), which resets the booth video for the next visitor.

Please choose this link to hear the Narrator’s monologue and the five sample questions:

Please select the attached pdf file to scroll through the five sample questions: F-Ness 5 Questions

For the final class, I will perform the Narrator role live, lip-synching with the pre-recorded monologue, while each of the five questions are projected onscreen.

I will ask my DIAP colleagues to engage with me, as if they were sitting alone in a booth, and choose to follow (or not follow) the Narrator’s instructions.


Project #3: The F-NESS Survey

On Monday December 8, 2014 I sent my new and improved F-NESS survey out to my mailing list, and invited others to forward and list the survey on their facebook pages etc. I also asked several specific colleagues with large mailing and facebook following to list the survey, which they all did. As of today, 165 people have completed the survey.

This process has been an consciously expanding experience. A group of people from many different backgrounds have given their time and attention to the questions on the survey; and even more interesting, many have chosen the “other” option, which allows them to write personal responses to questions.

Since the survey is anonymous I don’t know the identity of any person, and yet there a number of intimate and intriguing opinions and “confessions”. Without the cloak of anonymity, I believe these personal responses wouldn’t have been occurred. Also, the range of written articulation differs widely, which is a fascinating yet unplanned element of this study: the varying degrees in which individuals can (or cannot) express themselves and their feelings through writing. These writings would also make an interesting literary element to the study.

I have also received a number of links to other forgiveness- themed sites, quote sites and music sites with forgiveness themes, including the following:

Charlie Chaplin speech(? with music by Shiri Malckin: I”m Sorry


Below is a selection of survey questions with statistics and analysis in the form of pie charts; for some of these I have included “other” responses, demonstrating the range of reflection and consideration in people’s answers.

If a child asked...

Question #3: Do you believe humanity’s capacity to seek, grant or demand forgiveness is innate?

I believe it’s a combination of learned and innate

I think are are people who do not seek grant or demand forgiveness

you’d have to look at all other cultures and see if the concept exists in every one of them. if so it would suggest that this is innate.

Again, the question of Nature or Nurture. Since Forgiveness seems to be a tenet of most religions, perhaps it is a muscle that has to be developed.

I think it innate to feel like you want to be closer to someone and asking for or giving forgiveness is a culture bound way to do it when things go awry. Love is innate and sometimes forgiveness is an act of love but
it’s innate survival skill for some, that can be learned or cultivated in others

Have you felt deeply transformed
I wish. I can imagine such a transformation, but do not believe I have experienced it.

mostly just a struggle and relief when achieved–but maybe deep relief

yes but later reached other conclusions from a persons desperate need to forgive or love me, to survive.

It’s a constant challenge for me in today’s world

qualified no. It makes me feel better to forgive. wouldn’t call it a deep transformation.

Forgiving myself

I cannot think of one such deeply transforming event but I believe all small ones have transformed me and it’s ongoing process.

I have felt shifts in my well being by “moving on” and simply letting go of past injuries, but to be fair, I have not suffered a tremendous loss that would require a massive amount of forgiveness–so for that I have been lucky, there are things that I have intellectually forgiven myself for too, but not sure if I really do deep down

See yourself as a victim...

Question 6: Does forgiveness last?

If it doesn’t last, it isn’t forgiveness.

I am working so hard to forgive someone for something import that took.I have forgiven(worked very hard to put things in a place to forgive.The problem comes up when something in my life that I can no longer do because of this person comes er is apparent and I feel that huge ;loss…I go back to unforgiving…and need once again to bring forth a kind loving ope forging heart…yet again.

Depends on the act that is forgiven. How severe it is. I don’t think anyone truly forgets. At least, I don’t.

There is only ever Now.

Once you truly(!) feel it in your heart that you have forgiven, it lasts.

It demands often continuous return and continuous work on the decision

Sometimes you are just doing it again and again.

yes but sometimes i need to continue to work for it…like, it is more of a spectrum rather than black/white

Do family members deserve

Can you imagine f-giving someone

F-NESS change the world

How would I apply this survey/research study to the FORGIVENESS Project? I can envision the F-NESS survey being both offered as an activity and exhibited in real time in an installation setting. Visitors can complete the survey online at the space, and also the survey could be projected onto a gallery surface in real time, displaying a gradually increasing number of participants and how each separate submission changes the statistical data.

In evaluating this project, Professor Addison has suggested that “The idea of the confessional is rooted in many things, at it’s most streamlined a one-on-one experience between a confessor and interlocutor”. With this observation in mind, visitors to the installation would choose a booth (a confessional?) and privately experience the F-NESS video and soundtrack, which could be expanded to include a “personal” section where the narrator is “directly” questioning the participant: they would be invited to respond to the screen in any way that is comfortable, i.e. mentally or verbally. Afterwards the narrator would invite the participant to take part in the online survey, indicating the location in the gallery where they will find an i-pad or laptop with the survey uploaded and waiting.

There’s so much more to write – this is just scratching the surface.

Documentation for Projects 1 and 2

Featured image

This site is intended to document my research process in Professor Mark Smith’s Project Research course, September through November 2014, as part of the DIAP MFA program at City College NY.

The following chronological documentation represents an organized collection of all phases of Project #1: A Brief Study of Roots and Project #2: FORGIVENESS.


PROJECT #1: A Brief Study of Roots

Artist Statements:  All Project #1 Artist Statements

Project #1 course reading notes: All Project #1 course reading notes

Roots Notes: All Project #1 Roots Notes

Roots Script: Roots Video Script

Roots video on vimeo:
(password: roots)

Project #1 Response Paper:  Project #1 Response Paper

Roots Class Installation (photos by Searra Sasawan):

roots install 1

roots install 2

roots install 3



Artist Statements: All Project #2 Artist Statements

FORGIVENESS Synthesis Sites Order: Project #2 Synthesis Sites Order

FORGIVENESS Script, Cues and Map A & B Sentences: Project #2 script, cues, A-B sentences

FORGIVENESS Buckets / Think Map: Project #2 Buckets-Think Map

Five Project Ideas: Project #2 5 Project Ideas

Five Diagrams for Project Ideas: Project #2 5 diagrams


Written Project Notes and Map A Grid: