Created by Tom Schofield, Neurotic Armageddon Indicator (NAI) is an installation artwork which visualises the ‘Doomsday Clock’, a symbolic clock maintained by an academic journal since 1947, ‘The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’. The Doomsday Clock represents the proximity to armageddon expressed as minutes to midnight where midnight represents nuclear holocaust. The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the world is estimated to be to global disaster.
The most recent officially announced setting — five minutes to midnight (11:55pm) — was made on 10 January 2012. Reflecting international events dangerous to humankind, the clock’s hands have been adjusted twenty times since its inception in 1947, when the clock was initially set to seven minutes to midnight (11:53pm). The device is created in two pieces. One is a small computer programme running on a server which ‘scrapes’ the content of the bulletins home page as often as possible. The software checks the current status of the clock and then sends the results over the internet to the second part of the work, a small wall clock which displays the time of the Doomsday Clock on a red LED clock display. This process repeats as fast possible so that the device shows in near-real-time the status of the doomsday clock.
The project was created at the Digital Media at Culture Lab, a practice-based research group located in Culture Lab that is part of Newcastle Institute of Creative Arts Practice (NICAP).