This lecture explores the phenomenon of the flash mob in a broad cultural context. Artist Liza Morozova will examine the similarities between Russian flash mobs and the art of the 2000s in terms of relational aesthetics and non-spectacle art. Drawing on examples of particular flash mobs, she will discuss the transformation of this cultural phenomenon throughout the past decade.
The term “flash mob” was coined in 2003 in New York. Within a few months, the new form of performance had spread across borders. Critic Howard Rheingold, who predicted the emergence of the phenomenon in his 2002 book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, believed that people would eventually use new technology for self-organization. Some forms of flash mob are very close—or in fact coincide—with what we know as performance art, and can be considered a kind of popular performance, in which the author is the public body. This ever-changing form of art and entertainment is now also widely used in political campaigns and advertising.