Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flash Mob Simulacrum Continued

Following the analysis here of the recent T-Mobile pseudo-flash mob, I notice that Stewart Home was actually inadvertently present at Liverpool Street station when this was being filmed. He notes: 'This definitely wasn’t a flash mob because the filming was still going on when I returned to Liverpool Street station an hour later. Coming back I noticed a sign that claimed if I went into the area being used to fabricate the ad, I had consented to being filmed… Not so, since I hadn’t seen this sign until after I’d been through the station once, and besides which not everybody can read English… Liverpool Street station is a public space and a lot of people have no choice about using it if they need to catch the tube or an overground train'. Naturally he has demanded payment from T-Mobile should they use his image!

In the comments to Stewart's post, someone mentions Baudrillard and his notion of the Simulacrum. I must admit, though not an uncritical admirer, my first thought when I read that T-Mobile had created a simulation of a flash mob (in itself arguably a simulation of a Reclaim the Streets party), and that subsequently thousands of people had created a real flashmob partly as a simulation of this simulation - thus rendering the notion of what was 'real' at least problematic - my first thought was 'Blimey, Baudrillard eat your heart out'. Unfortunately Baudrillard is no longer around to spin a few moments of flashmobbing into a pithy if incomprehensible epigram.

1 comment:

Mister Trippy said...

Shame we didn't manage to link our posts on this earlier, as we'd have probably sparked off more debate bouncing between the two. Guess a lot of people feel they've moved on... but I think this is an issue that will come back... the captialists will be trying to recuperate plenty more of what we do as they desperately seek to promote themselves through virals and word of mouth in 'new media'.... and wow did T-Mobile spend a lot on this one, including click through advertising for the YouTube posting!