NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2043 - Just two years after the Experiment in Anonymous Living was launched, the project director announced that a consortium of unnamed benefactors will fund the controversial project with more than $25 billion.
More than 5 million people, mostly Americans, are on the waiting list for a chance to live anonymously for fifteen minutes on the Experiment's vast land in northwestern Australia.
"I see it as a refugee camp," says founder Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 37, in a rare telephone interview from an undisclosed location in Manhattan where she is visiting her father, actor Brad Pitt, 79, and his third wife, Suri Cruise. "Our clients are fleeing a world where there's no privacy and no secrets. They're escaping a world no one can escape - except for fifteen minutes."
During the 15-minute period, each participant in the Experiment is taken off the grid. The magnetic cords connecting them to the Internet are cut, and their entire personal and professional history expunged from The International Database. They are given a medication that temporarily erases their memory.
They are led outside where they interact with dozens of others in the same anonymous condition. Because of the prohibitive cost, subsidized by the Experiment, each person is allotted just 15 minutes. Afterward, the cords are reconnected and their recently deleted data is restored.
"It may only have been 15 minutes but it left me with a feeling of exhilaration and freedom that I've never had before," said Sean Preston Federline, 38, a project consultant and one of the first participants. "For one moment in my life, nobody knew who I was. Even I didn't know who I was."
The Experiment reports that more than a third of their clients have expressed interest in returning permanently if such an option is made possible. Ms. Jolie-Pitt, who has not been seen in public since the early 2030's, created the Experiment in Anonymous Living with a team of dozens of the world's top doctors, scientists and researchers.
"It was a no-brainer," says Jolie-Pitt, who was a magazine cover girl before the age of one. "Nobody knows this subject better than me. My childhood was one big photo op. I was the ultimate prop. And everyone blamed the paparazzi! All I can say now is - there's nothing worse than being famous."
"Shiloh's my heroine," says her adoptive brother, Pax Jolie-Pitt, 40. "She can afford the luxury of anonymity. But most people have nowhere to hide. Cameras are everywhere. Every email is recorded. But thanks to Shi, everyone has a chance to be a nobody, at least for fifteen minutes."
(Pax Jolie-Pitt was the subject of an intense international manhunt in 2018 when he disappeared from a Manhattan hotel after his parents' acrimonious divorce. It was later discovered that Pax, then 15, had never adjusted to life with his famous adoptive family and paid a stranger to smuggle him out of the U.S. and back to Vietnam. He is now the director of an orphanage outside Ho Chi Minh City but retains ties with his adoptive siblings.)
Shiloh-Jolie Pitt's mother, Angelina Jolie, 68, a former actress, is best known for pioneering a chain of attention addiction rehabilitation centers in the U.S. and Europe which flourished in the 2020's. Angelina Jolie now lives on an unidentified island somewhere off the east coast of Africa with her longtime companion, Rosie O'Donnell. The two began Mothers Against Cameras in 2030.
The Experiment for Anonymous Living's spiritual advisor is Harvey Levin, who once ran a notorious website devoted to celebrity scandal. TMZ.com was believed integral to the infamous Tragedy of 2007 that marked the beginning of the end of America's century-long obsession with fame and celebrity.
Levin left the U.S. for a rigorous course of study at a silent monastery for Buddhist monks in northern Japan in 2008. He has remained there, except for a year-long stay in Australia with Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's team at the Experiment in Anonymous Living.
Two of the Experiment's possible benefactors are rumored to be four-time Oscar winner George Clooney, 82, and his wife of 34 years, Jennifer Aniston, 74. The two have not been sighted for 18 years, after buying a small archipelago believed to be off Tierra del Fuego. Aniston was an actress years ago. She created the television talent show "Anonymous Idol" which celebrates its 20th anniversary next month.