seen at Circus Fashion Flash Mob, Generali Center, Vienna, 2010
Apparently spontaneous, a Flash mob is a short gathering of a crowd in public space. People who do not know each other do strange things together in a short and then disperse. Flash mobs are a characteristic sign for the online-community. Using new communication technologies, people organize the get-together by spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter,viral e-mails, etc..
[…] The first flash mob was created in Manhattan in May 2003, by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine. The first attempt was unsuccessful after the targeted retail store was tipped off about the plan for people to gather. Wasik avoided such problems during the second flash mob, which occurred on June 3, 2003 at department store, by sending participants to preliminary staging areas – in four prearranged Manhattan bars – where they received further instructions about the ultimate event and location just before the event began.
More than 100 people converged upon the ninth floor rug department of the store, gathering around an expensive rug. Anyone approached by a sales assistant was advised to say that the gatherers lived together in a warehouse on the outskirts of New York, that they were shopping for a “love rug”, and that they made all their purchase decisions as a group. Subsequently, 200 people flooded the lobby and mezzanine of the Hyatt hotel in synchronized applause for about 15 seconds, and a shoe boutique in SoHo was invaded by participants pretending to be tourists on a bus trip. […] [WIKIPEDIA]
One of the most famous Flash mobs was organized by the performance art group Improv Everywhere in 2008 at New York station Grand Central Terminal: at the same time about 200 people freezed for five minutes! The documentation video on YouTube reached over 24million views.
There are various manifestations of Flash mobs – the picture above has been taken at a Fashion Flash mob in a Viennese shopping mall which was transformed into a show arena for half an hour. (see more pictures here).