I have lectured about viral marketing, flashmobs and information dissemination 5 times in HUMlab this term. And it seems that each time I do it, it takes a more activist slant. The more I explore flashmobbing, the more appealing I find it. (Possibly dues to my background in theater and past bouts of activism?) Flashmobbing seems the perfect marriage of performative outrage/awareness and public response/participation. There is strength in the infectiousnesses of flashmobs… But I have to wonder, if they were to really saturate a culture (as they seem to have in England) could the message become stronger and stronger, or would they loose potency? Is the power in the infectiousnesses or the ability to surprise an onlooker? (I should ask Jane what she thinks…)
In today’s lecture, however, we talked about the pillow flashmobs, the BBC flashmob opera and silent discos. At the end of the lecture, we had small groups of students design their own flashmob – the catch was they had to motivate it. The classes left excited about the concept and it would not surprise me at all if Umeå did not have groups of FM’ing students suddenly appear downtown!
(an aside…I think the term ‘performative outrage’ – I am using performative in the linguistic sense – as in a performative utterance (saying ‘I do’ at a wedding, to name one example). Maybe performative outrage lends a purpose to the anger and distress rather than stripping a person of his or her control.)
update! for any students from those lectures, I just found the site Flashmob Sverige. Might be useful ;-)