Many people at a square in Shibuya, all of a sudden, pretended to make calls with bananas holding in their hands. People on an escalator gave high five each other. People came from nowhere and they started dancing together in an airport. Passers-by were all eyes, puzzled and wondered what on earth was happening.
Those performances are called flash mob acts and it’s getting popular around the world. According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of flash mob is as follows:
Flash mob (noun)
a public gathering of complete strangers, organized via the Internet or mobile phone, who perform a pointless act and then disperse again.
The first flash mob act was born from an idea of an editor for Harper’s Magazine, Bill Wasik in 2003. Wasik said that he just wanted to have an experiment to see what would happen if he proposed random people, by email, his idea of getting people together and performing his scenario.
Why do flash mobs attract a lot of people around the world?
Basically, flash mobs don’t have any purposes themselves. Masaaki Ito, the author of “Flash Mobs” said that it could change the order of space.”
A performance suddenly cuts in our daily life and changes our scenes. In a few minutes, our scenes go back to normal as if nothing happened. What people experienced for some minutes is more than just fun. Although participants of events are anonymous, they get to know that they have power to attract people’s attention when they get together for an act.
It remind me of one event which took place around the same time of the last year. People who were opposed to re-starting of Ooi nuclear power plant got together in response to the announcement made on Twitter and strolled around the prime minister’s official residence. It was an political event, but both flash mobs and Twitter parades are all but the same on SNS based movements.
After the 3-11 disaster, we have been trapped in a smoldering atmosphere. I think that flash mobs show us some possibility to be connected, not close-knit, and break out of the stagnant air.
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