‘Samaritans, the leading suicide prevention charity, today is launching Samaritans Radar – a free web application that monitors your friends’ Tweets, alerting you if it spots anyone who may be struggling to cope. The app gives users a second chance to see potentially worrying Tweets, which might have otherwise been missed.
‘Created by digital agency Jam using Twitter’s API, Samaritans Radar uses a specially designed algorithm that looks for specific keywords and phrases within a Tweet. It then sends an email alert to the user with a link to the Tweet it has detected, and offers guidance on the best way of reaching out and providing support…’
The Political Artists
Performance Art and Modern Political Protest
‘“I make revolutionary art to propel history forward,” Dread Scott begins his artist’s statement. This new kind of overtly political performance art by Scott, Sulkowicz, and others “propels history forward” by giving tangible form to the senselessly cyclical nature of American racial and sexual politics. Sulkowicz credits as influences pioneering performance artists Tehching Hsieh (whose works address enduring imprisonment and homelessness) and Chris Burden (whose 1975 piece titled simply Doomed addressed the essence of human compassion and its absence), so political performance art is nothing new. What sets these pieces and artists apart is a new willingness to make their art unashamedly political and to speak loud and clear (blessedly free of “artspeak”) to issues that concern not just specific groups but ultimately all of us. If artists stop making such art and we stop paying attention, then we may truly be doomed…’
Rehearsing for Death
A pre-K teacher on the trouble with lockdown drills
‘…But this was a big deal. It was the lockdown drill that spilled over its edges into Lockdown. I made the mental shift, if only for a moment, from the routine to a pure, clear terror.
‘Which of those states of mind makes more sense? I teach in a country awash in weaponry. Maybe that moment I stood alone in my classroom was when I was closest to the truth. In 13 minutes, according to my gruesome and involuntary mental calculus, a single gunman with his effortlessly obtained XM15-E2S rifle and 26 rounds in each of two additional magazines could potentially kill 78 of us. Even considering the time it takes to calmly reload…’