A flash mob is a seemingly pointless gathering of random people, doing a specific act, and then dispersing. Think of a train station in which people, who were waiting, start to dance to music that is being played by some other people, who have pulled out instruments. Together they create an unusual scene; once done, they all just go their own ways. Usually the flash mob is organised via the internet, open to anyone, or a certain group that agrees on a time, place, and of course what to do. Sometimes they have to meet up beforehand to practice and rehearse. Naturally, most people in the public space do not know about this.
There are many reasons why someone might organise a flashmob, it can be used as a form of protests, to draw attention to a social cause, sometimes it can even be a company that is advertising a product etc. Oftentimes, it is simply used to create and add a bit of fun to the lives of those who witness it.
When done well, a flash mob is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to people’s faces, it sure breaks the normal rhythm of their week! If done really well, it can even make people think; in this regard, it can be considered as a form of participatory art.
Group / Experiential
2 hours (1 hour for preparation, 1 hour for execution, with some days in-between)
Acquire a sense of ownership of a local public space, realise culture is what you do
Become aware of aesthetic and expressive qualities of otherwise everyday activities
Get an experience of how to use flash mobs as a way to raise the awareness about a cause
Required Materials and Tools:
Whatever you require to act out the desired activity, but not too much (consider such things as an umbrella, because all your ‘guests’ need to be able to bring the props, too). A camera or a phone to film the flashmob.
Gather a small group together to help you organise it
Decide on an activity your flash mob is going to centre on, consider these points as you do so:
Bear in mind that in the group you have gathered, age, gender etc may all affect what you do, not everyone can do a headstand or breakdance!
It leaves no trace when dispersed, and certainly it does not destroy anything.
Make sure the act does not come across as aggressive in any way, you do not want to create alarm and have security/the police called on you!
Preferably it touches on something recognizable before the end, so perplexed spectators may enjoy the experience and not just be confused (a good advice is to start off with something funny and convey your message towards the end)
Advertise to draw a larger group together, you need to be careful with this as you do still want people to be surprised when you turn up! Social media is often used for this. Once you start doing the planned activity, try to get random onlookers to join in.
Appoint someone who will speak to officials if they show up, for instance police etc, if you are worried about this, perhaps check if you can still make it work while contacting someone who is responsible for where you will be doing it and checking with them.
Film it, but don’t be too clear with your camera beforehand!
How did it feel? Were you scared, embarrassed?
How did the spectators react?
What was the funniest moment?
Was there a message you were trying to convey? A social/political cause that inspired you to do the flashmob?
Instructions for Submission
Upload 1 photo of the flash mob and a short written reflection. Optional: upload a video of the flash mob online (ex: YouTube) and submit the youtube link here. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
If you liked this activity, you should certainly look into these other kinds of public actions:
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