ATTENTION: FLASH MOB INFORMATIONS
The flash mob will take place wednesday the 21st at 15.00 (an hour after the conference) in front of the train station (outside).
EVERYONE SHOULD BRING AN UMBRELLA.
This is what will happen: Some of us will sit/stand in front of the station, some will come from Bruuns Galleri, some from the streets etc. Rasmus looks to the sky, put up his umbrella - chain reaction: everyone starts looking to the sky and put up their umbrellas; first 5, then 10 etc. etc. After about 5 minuttes Rasmus will take down his umbrella and walk away - and so will everyone else in different directions. We hope for good, sunny weather - if the weather is rainy PLAN B is to do the flash mob inside the train station (in the great hall).
Afterwards we can meet at Ris Ras (Mejlgade) to get a beer (or whatever) and discuss how it went :)
Elina will communicate this to the other course: It would be great if they could participate!
Group 1 and 2
Flash mob reflections
The making of the concept of ‘The Umbrella Flash mob’
To get started on the decision-making process we had to start by agreeing upon what a flash mob actually is and more importantly; what a flash mob is not. We decided that a flash mob, in order to be defined or categorized as a flash mob, has to be discrete; it shouldn’t seem planned, but spontaneous at least in the first seconds the people are confronted with the phenomena. Moreover you shouldn’t at first be able to see a relation between the participants; they shouldn’t be perceived as a group, i.e. the participants should not hug eachtother, welcome eachother or all talk together before or during the event. Another very important feature in relation to the discrete facet of a flash mob is, that it dissolves and disappears as quickly as it is started. The participants should just walk away in different directions like nothing happened in order to highlight the ‘spontaneous’ and puzzling expression of the flash mob. However there is a paradox here: the flash mob is not spontaneous, it’s been thouroughly discussed and planned as we have experienced in the process of planning and communicating our specific flash mob. But the event has to present itself to the viewer as though unplanned, spontaneous and authentic. One could perhaps describe the flash mob as staged or organized authenticity. Meaning that the fact that the flash mob is actually a staged event should not make it less authentic for the people er persons experiencing it. The vast amount of planning is actually done in order to make the happening seem spontanious and thereby athentic.
We discussed whether our flash mob had to have a political message or be socially engaged, and decided that the flash mob didn’t necessarily have to. Our flash mob should be puzzling and a kind of break from the everyday routine of the people passing the train station (like the mirror example in class). If you have intentions of executing a political flash mob we thought it should be strictly arranged and the press should be there in order for it to have a real effect, to get the message out. The discussion actually presented a problem regarding the definition of a flash mob as there seems to be two different perceptions of what a flash mob is. In our basic understanding of the term a flash mob should be executed as described above. As an event it should be puzzeling in the sense that the meaning of the event is not defined or explained in any way. It is just something that suddenly happens and the different "viewers" are free to think absolutely whatever they will about the thing that just happened. On the other hand there seems to be a lot of flash mobs that have a clearly defined purpose and (political or moral, ethical) meaning, i.e. a flash mob protesting for gay rights. These flash mobs are "obvious" and perhaps the very clearly defined meaning takes away something from the whole concept? Perhaps there ought to be different terms for the different kinds of flash mobs. Anyway, we decided on making the first kind of flash mob:
To decide the concept of the flash mob we used a devising-process. The devising process is developed with reference to visual artforms. It is also a process that is more joint and democratic than other creative work processes. The process consists of three different phases; a generating phase, a composition phase and a staging phase. In practice this took place as follows: in the first phase each of us thought of a various number of suggestions, ideas, sketches or just elements and wrote these on little post-its. Now we had generated some material we could use in the creation of the flash mob. Now we were ready for the composition phase where we tried to combine some of the ideas to a whole, making the final product a joint one. This however left us with a large number of alternative products, so we had to “kill our darlings” through discussion. Afterwards we selected and agreed upon which ones of these suggestions we liked the best and then we voted to select just one of the best suggestions. Everyone was engaged in the process and therby we were all a part of the final product. Democracy was an important element of our decision-making process because flash mobs are often associated with progressive, democratic art values, making the devising process an obivious choice.
Reflections upon documentation
Documentation was also a point of our discussion because it is crucial for a happening such as a flash mob. (Groys: Art documentation). It was important for us that the concept should be easy to document. There were some post-it suggestions of an interactive flash mob, but we agreed they would be too difficult to document. We thought that if the flash mob was less challenging to document, it would probably be more effective. If it was too difficult to document, it is likely that it would be too difficult for the public to perceive what was happening.
Hopes and expectations
Our expectations regarding the flash mob are that it will cause wonder and suprise in the public and maybe make people reflect more upon their route through the urban landscape. The train station can be perceived as a passage-like space, or a sort of non-place. You pass through or wait in the hall only to take the train and go from A to B. You don’t go to the hall or the place in front of the train station to hang out but to go somewhere else. We thought it would be exciting to see what will happen if people are shaken out of the normally zombie-like passing through the hall either to get a train or go shopping in Bruuns Gallery.
This flash mob is very dependent on the weather, which we of course hope will be sunny and cloudless. If this is not the case we made a Plan B. The plan is to execute The Umbrella Flash mob inside – in the great hall of the train station. This will of course affect the way in which the flash mob is understood and the expression will change. We thought about which would be more effective- having the flashmob inside or outside. We decided that in both cases, the flashmob would work. To open an umbrella inside would work because it is a completely absurd thing to do, and as such would generate attention in that way. Opening an umbrella outside is not out of the ordinary, but that action, when taken out of the context of a rainy day, could be unnerving and cause people to question their own sanity (Is it raining? Am I crazy?) and generate attention in that way. We will be satisfied either way.
Gr. 5: Communicating the flash mob
The class started out by communicating the planned fash mob through our wikidot-page and emails. Afterwards we agreed on reaching a broad public and therefore we planned to contact both printed media (news papers, university magazines) and online media (blogs, online news pages, Facebook-groups and pages). With this plan we hoped to reach as many different people, with different interests, as possible.
We have written a press release which we have sent to the media below.
Furthermore we talked about contacting the TV-news, but we agreed not to because having cameras around when the flash mob would begin, would ruin the whole concept and its secrecy.
We have contacted:
Facebook-groups: aoa.dk (http://www.facebook.com/#!/aoadk?ref=ts) & Aarhus (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=6834027561&ref=ts)
Delfinen & Visir /University magazines
Various news networks.
We have not yet received any answers on our emails.
** Group 3 - documentation*
I don't know how to upload pictures on this wikipage, but I have posted the photos in a file on my facebook-profile.
Here is the link:
If it is possible, please post your comments and write if you heard someone say something funny!
Group 4) Analyzing the Umbrella Flashmob
Concepts: Bürgers ’Shock effect’ (singular event) - Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow experience, Kluitenberg’s definition of a flashmob
On Wednesday the 21. of April at 3 p.m. in front of the railway station in Aarhus approximately 20-30 people suddenly opened up umbrellas although the sun was shining. A flashmob was happening. Some knew or thought they knew what it was, others were surprised, confused or even angry, because their movements through the city was obstructed. Earlier that day it had rained a bit, but at that specific time the sky was blue. The space in front of the railway station is a very crowded place. Many people is walking or sometimes running in and out of the building, and the flashmob therefore functioned as a distracting event. Then after 5 minutes every umbrella was closed at the same time, and people who had been participating in the flashmob walked in different directions, and once again absorbed themself into their normal behavior and movements in the urban landscape.
The first question that needs to be answered is on a fundamental level: what is a flashmob? According to Eric Kluitenberg a flashmob is ”Semi-spontaneous public gatherings of gruops of people, hardly if at all known to one another, nondescript, with no determining characteristics such as banners, uniform or logo, briefly performed some collective synchronous action, and then dissolved back into ’the general public’. In terms of behavior psychology the flashmob disrupted the normal flow of experience: which according to Mihály Csíkszentmihályi constitutes our movements and behavoir especially in the urban landscape. A central idea here is that our consciousness is ”walking ahead of us”, i.e. you are thinking of opening your front door when you are walking towards your home; the consciousness is intentional. The flashmob in this sense destroyed this flow of consciousness. In relation to the works of Peter Bürger the flashmob creates a shock effect on the consciousness perhaps it anables them to bring their consciousness back to the physical location, in what Kluitenberg defines as a space of place.
How can this be evaluated? What is the criteria of a flashmobs succes? The flashmob was conducted very simultaneous, which is perhaps one of the most important aspects in dealing with an event like this. Also the number of participants involved in making the flashmob and the number of people being confronted with the flashmob is a fundamental criterion in the evaluation of the flashmob. The logic here is a functionalistic one; the more people involved the more effective it gets. On the basis of these criteria our flashmob was a succes. It was carried out the most busy public place in the city, and the fact that the rain had stopped earlier on and that the sun now was shining gave the specific time of the event a special value. The fact that we, as academic students, took part in the flashmob was a new and fun way to analyze a cultural phenomenon.