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Reduce tension by screaming

Published: 19/01/2021 By The Abode Team

Those exhausted by 2021 -- and well, all of 2020 -- can get some relief by calling a hotline and screaming. Yes, really.

'Just Scream', a hotline created by elementary school teacher Chris Gollmar, aims to reduce tension for those needing an outlet. All you have to do is call the hotline and scream for as loud as you want, and for as long as you want -- and then hang up.

"I wanted to find a prompt that people would respond to and screaming seemed to be a good fit!" Gollmar came up with the idea in September 2020 and launched just before US Election Day in November. Gollmar, who said he's been an artist and coder since he was a kid, spends his free time working on participatory art that invites people to call a phone number and leave a voicemail for others to hear. This time, he said he "thought it would be funny and unique to create a phone line just for screaming."

After people dial in, their calls are recorded and put on the website Gollmar created.    "Why should I call you?" the website ask. "To scream! You might be unhappy, terrified, frustrated, or elated. All of these are perfectly good reasons to call and record yourself screaming." Personal phone numbers are not stored, and all calls go to an answering machine -- so interacting with a real person isn't required. According to the website, there is currently a backlog of over 40,000 screams waiting to upload. "Wow! That's a lot of screaming!" the website states, noting if people can't hear their own scream that it may still be processing. Gollmar said he's gotten 70,000 recordings since launching the hotline.

"Never in my life would I have expected so many people to actually pick up the phone, dial a number and record themselves for the world to hear," he said. "But we're all screaming on the inside right now, so I guess I should have figured." The hotline will stop accepting calls on January 21 so you still have a little time. After that, Gollmar said he will pick a new project to work on. "I've always intended it (the hotline) to be a limited-term project -- a reflection of this point in time when, in addition to all the stress of the pandemic, we're also experiencing political turmoil in the United States," he said. "I've started thinking about it like a time capsule, in a way."

Don't worry, though: The screams will remain on the project's website. Happy listening.