the mystery box
Timed perfectly for the pre-Cloverfield marketing cycle, TED.com has posted J.J. Abrams' talk from last year's conference:
J.J. Abrams traces his love of the unseen mystery -- the heart of Alias, Lost, and the upcoming Cloverfield -- back to its own magical beginnings, which may or may not include an early obsession with magic, the love of a supportive grandfather, or his own unopened Mystery Box.
I'm queuing that one up for the weekend.
Relatedly: Over the past several years, Bay Area painter Squeak Carnwath has routinely contributed Grab Bag Mystery Boxes to fund-raising art auctions. Here's the description of one from a 2002 di Rosa Preserve auction:
The object contained inside this box is presently a mystery to all. You, the bidder, are now taking a risk similar to the creative risks that artists take when they make a work of art. You, dear auction bidder, are experiencing the UNKNOWN. For the artist, making art is an exercise in trust. Trust that the unknown will reveal insight. You, like the artist, do not know what your desire will reveal to you. The item contained herein could be an artwork of my own making, studio archeology, an artwork by another artist, a grocery list, a sculpture, a drawing, jewelry, photos, materials to make your own artwork, a lock of hair, etc. etc.