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.