Creating people's geographies
Public art for art’s sake can be a fun and participatory affair, creating a grassroots ‘collective effervescence’ in civil society. A great recent example is the Beirut installment of the global phenomenon of ‘Flash Mob’ public performances that occurred earlier this month, at City Mall, Dora. The flash mob involved a couple of hundred people converging on a city mall and freezing for 5 minutes, near the anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War.
The next one in Beirut:
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Time: 4:00pm – 8:00pm | Location: to be communicated | Contact lebmobbers @ gmail.com
LebMobbers (3 minutes)
As NowLebanon reports,
“This was just to have fun and to have positive vibes. Lebanon needs more positive vibes,” said the organizer in a phone interview with NOW Lebanon. “Today is the birthday of the civil war, and we wanted to give the media an opportunity to talk about something other than politics,” he added. …
The “Flash Mob,” as Sunday’s event is known, is a phenomenon that began in New York City in 2003. Participants are recruited and given preliminary instructions over the internet. Likewise, Sunday’s event began with a message on Facebook and further emails once interest had been generated. “We had 800 people sign up, though we expected around 200, maybe as many as 500 would participate,” Shanay said.
The first flash mob was organized by Harper’s Magazine senior editor Bill Waslik but was aborted after the target, a retail store in Manhattan, learned of the impending mob. Waslik organized the second flash mob in two steps, only letting the participants in on the final details at the very last second. The “Leb Mobbers,” as the Lebanon group calls itself, decided to run things the same way, giving would-be participants a map to where they would receive their final instructions mere hours before the event was to take place.