By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Then what was the point?
Early on, people would ask me, Why are you doing this? What is the purpose behind this project? And I would very confidently give an answer. But as it started to spread, the questions started to change. Suddenly, the question was why do you think people respond to this idea? Why has this become such a big phenomenon? I’d try to explain it, but basically, I’m as much of an outsider to the question as anyone who might ask me. It certainly wasn’t based on this absurdist hipster comedy I was thinking about.
So what was it?
The way I’ve come to think of the flash mobs is that it was an experiment in using e-mail to bring strangers together in a collective action directed toward simple politics. In these specific cases, people choosing fun. My hope is that someone will take the premises that made flash mobs so popular, and they will become tools in the tool kits of people who want to do art projects, or want to do political projects.
You’re saying the meme is out there.
Yes. People have already forwarded me invitations, not flash mobs per se, but the pieces of it were there. Synchronizing watches, clever e-mails being forwarded around, making people feel like secret agents, getting people to converge at the same place at the same time. The overall concepts are still out there, and I hope the best use of those ideas has yet to come.
Have you ever thought of doing some kind of follow-up project?
I have some ideas, but I’m not really . . .
. . . at liberty to say?
I’m not really ready to talk about them on the record.
Do you think it will come during the summer months?
Generally, I think street actions are always going to be a little bit better in the summertime.
Why the semi-secrecy, by the way? Why are you even telling me your name is Bill, beyond the fact that it’s appropriately anonymous, “My name is Bill W.” or some such?
I was going to stay completely out of it, but they were doing these sort of person-on-the-street interviews, and they randomly talked to a woman who knew me, and she just said, I’m here because I know Bill and he organized it. Once they had that on tape and they found me, I realized it would be a bit prima donna–ish to say, Well, I refuse to interview with you. Plus, I’ve had a number of people tell me I have a good name to be an anonymous organizer. It’s the name I was born with.
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