Urban Pranksters im Wall Street Journal

14.09.2008 Misc #Flashmob

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Das Wall Street Journal (ausgerechnet!) hat einen sehr schönen Artikel über Flashmobs und Urban Prankster am Start und ich frage mich grade, ob in dieser Richtung in Deutschland irgendwas spannendes passiert. Außer den Zombie Walks in Frankfurt und Berlin und einer Kissenschlacht fällt mir spontan nichts ein, auch wenn das Urban Prankster Network einige deutsche Städte verzeichnet. Das Bild stammt von der Improv Everywhere Aktion „Human Mirror“.

Today's prankster culture has roots in the Vietnam era, a time of social upheaval and political unrest. In 1967, at the height of the war, activist Abbie Hoffman and beat poet Allen Ginsberg organized hundreds of demonstrators to stage a mock levitation of the Pentagon. By chanting and singing outside the building, they said, they'd perform an exorcism and end the war. The stunt was part of a larger demonstration at the Pentagon that drew thousands of people and led to nearly 700 arrests. A year later, similar activities meant to lampoon and disrupt the Democratic convention in Chicago were staged by the Youth International Party, or Yippies -- founded by Mr. Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and others -- and included nominating a pig for president.

Some contemporary pranks owe much to their '60s precursors. During the Republican convention earlier this month, "Lobbyists for McCain" dressed in dark power suits and gathered in a parking lot in St. Paul, Minn., grilling hot dogs at a tailgate party and handing out fake money. The aim, the group said, was to call attention to what it called lobbyists' influence over the Republican campaign agenda. ("It's certainly common for there to be political theater surrounding candidates' events," says McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds. "It's part of campaigning.")

The latest pranksters are "urban alchemists," akin to so-called guerrilla gardeners who cram plantings into sidewalk cracks, or people who create "found art" made from random items plucked from the streets, according to Jonathan Wynn, a sociologist at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

The New Pranksters (via Urban Prankster)