Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 100 missions involving tens of thousands of undercover agents.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Musical Media and Other Acts of Coordination
If the last post was too classical for your tastes, and your preferences run more towards show tunes, how about this musical expression of social media that one of my Fordham undergraduate students in last semester's Social Media class introduced me to:
Gotta Share! is a product of ImprovEverywhere, one of the leading coordinators of flash mobs and the like. As they describe themselves on their website
As you can see, their pranks are impressively complex and creative. Here's their latest one, called The Mute Button:
And this is one of their best known pranks, Frozen Grand Central:
and High Five Escalator:
This one, The Camera Flash Experiment, is a very interesting idea that perhaps did not work out quite as well as they had hoped:
But I am particularly impressed with their MP3 experiments, based on the popularity of MP3 players, e.g., the iPod. Here is The MP3 Experiement 6:
While this represents their most elaborate act of coordination involving new media, I find all of their experiments and pranks, probes as McLuhan would put it, to be very much in the spirit of social media, and electronic media more generally, in their emphasis on participation, performance (this is a form of improv, after all, and arguably performance art), social networking, and collaboration. While comedic in intent, they serve the important function of humor as a means of exploring and understanding our situations and environments, humor as a mode of criticism, analysis, and understanding.