Artist - Steven Cavanagh
In our often-isolating society, joining others to mourn for a stranger helps people feel connected, part of a larger whole and a common cause. This was most dramatically seen after the death of Princess Diana in 1997, which was followed by the largest public expression of grief for a single death in history.
Today public sites of mourning play out like a 21st century flash-mob working with a globally choreographed script. The endless loop of collective grief is experienced & shared via passive social media likes or angry trolling comments before we move on to the next on-line distraction.
Newsweek writer Ken Auchincloss calls this "event grief," in which "emotion is the glue that fastens people to an event played out in the papers or on television. Emotions of this sort hardly count as feelings at all; they're a form of participation. They're like screams at a pop concert, which don't signify love or even admiration but just exuberance at being part of the show."