Flush: let it go
Flush is a digital platform—designed for use in bathroom stalls—that encourages people to “flush their thoughts" anonymously as a cathartic way to release them. The website and mobile app are triggered by scanning a QR code with your smartphone.
Starting with a piece of toilet paper (the project asked students in the class to riff on a piece of trash they tossed after class), Alexia became interested in the bathroom stall as a private space in the public realm, a place that is often used for self-refection, and a place where people tend to use their phone. She asked herself, How could this space be exploited? and how could she tap into the use of cellphones in the restroom to bring her project to life?
The first iteration of the project used QR code stickers affixed to bathroom fixtures—leading users to short phrases such as
"Make it a verb if you want to know what it does" Or "School is not a place to play safe" Or "Inhale, Exhale". After a brief testing period, Alexia decided to invite users participate instead limiting their interaction to reading a quote. She decided to build a website and an app called Flush: Let It Go which would allow users not only to express themselves, but also respond to other people’s thoughts in the vicinity through private messages and comments.
For the final prototype the QR code was overlaid onto a mirrored plate. In this embodiment, the user is confronted with a pixelated reflection of themselves in the bathroom stall—suggesting that their reflection will only be clear once they let go of a thought.
Alexia’s desire to encourage the letting go of thoughts came from noticing a need in herself and her peers. She also realized that some meditation techniques tackle this issue nicely, as Andy Puddicombe—founder of the popular meditation app Headspace—notes "In that moment of awareness, the moment we realize we’ve been distracted, we use the noting to create a bit of space, as a way of letting go, and to gain some clarity…". Having an understanding, accepting, and acknowledging our thoughts is the first step, Flush provides a platform to aid in expressing that thought, and allowing the user to let it go. By adding the community aspect to the app, the experience is completed, building empathy and compassion into the overall product offering. She thinks of it as an equation: Thought + action + community = expression = release + empathy + compassion.
The app and website service would be launched in busy cities through a comprehensive PR campaign, and build upon a larger community of participants to complete the experience.