10Q: A Mass Online Participatory Soul-Searching Project

By Neal Comment

10Q-logo.jpgWe got a note from Ben Greenman last week about his latest project, a multmedia celebration keyed to the Jewish high holidays called 10Q: Renew, Reflect, React. Starting with Rosh Hoshanah last Friday, participants will post their answers to a series of ten questions: What’s a significant experience that has affected you over the past year? What’s something you would have done differently? and so on, through to September 28 and Yom Kippur. You can keep your answers to yourself, or share them with the rest of the participants—and in September 2010, they’ll be emailed back to you as a sort of electronic time capsule.

“The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time to think about the year that passed, and let go of grudges,” Greenman told Flavorpill last week. “Broadly speaking it’s the same kind of thing as the New Year… But one of the things that I think we’re trying to work against is—there’s so much self-expression without introspection. It’s so much easier now to react to something immediately and instantly publish it. We want people to think of what has been building up that they might not have expressed over the last year.” And though the high holidays provide a symbolic framework for the project, he explained to New York Blueprint, “why should the people observing those holidays have all the fun?” Thus, everybody is invited to participate, whatever your religious background or current level of commitment. As his partner, playwright Nicola Behrman, puts it, “10Q is designed to be accessible to anyone who sees value in taking a step back and looking at what’s been going on in their world. Ultimately, it’s by engaging in these acts of reflection that we get to really see who we are, what’s important to us and where we’d like to see ourselves in the future.”

To help spread the word, they’ve even gained access to an electronic billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square…