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2003.08.10

Fun in public, sans-Mob

While it was good for a laugh, as an experiment the Flash Mob seems to be finished. A mob can't appear "inexplicably" while simultaneously courting the media. It's the secret everyone knows. As for using the mob in a constructive or empowering way, that's simply an e-mail and mobile-phone enabled rally or demonstration using "Mob" as a buzzword.

Some are now suggesting flash-hacking the mob or mob hi-jacking; soon there will be anti-anti-mob. But as a memetic phenomenon and "Bill"'s art project/social research, the Flash Mob was important.

Not all participants think of the mob as art, but some artists who eschew mobs in favor of solo excursions in public include Francis Alys, Janet Cardiff and Martha Rosler, among others.

Petr Kazil's site is a great resource for urban and adventurous artists.

Other non-mob ways to make friends and influence people in public include:
digging a hole
following strangers
writing your name everywhere
tripping on the sidewalk
or washing it

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Comments

Is it premature to say that flash mobs, as an experiment, are over?

Even if every press outlet in town covers an event, it can still be inexplicable to some bystanders, at least temporarily, until they ask around and someone fills them in.

Even if 90 percent of a city knows that a flash mob is going down at a certain time and place, as long as some of the other 10 percent are present, it still can freak those people out, no? (Come to think of it, if 90 percent of the city took part and did the same freaky thing for 5 minutes, it would freak out the rest of town MUCH more than what we've done so far, no?)

(Maybe it -is- over, but I just don't see enough evidence to conclude that yet. In any case, it's all good.)

Anyway, thanks for turning me on to the "other non-mob" links. Here's another good one along those lines; kite photography:
http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/

Onward!

-Sean

Posted by: [email protected] | Aug 10, 2003 2:08:57 PM

there are some cities (i'm in memphis, tn) that have yet to see a flash mob. and there are many in the city that may be unaware of the phenomena so i'd suggest that it has not yet run it's course.

i'd also add that i think perhaps there might be a rest period and that at some point in the future flash mobs re-emerge more a random blips rather than as a semi-organized movement.

Posted by: denny | Aug 14, 2003 2:21:36 AM

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