No longer sequestered to sorority dorm rooms, pillow fights are going public and coming to a street near you. Calgary’s Flash Mob invites you this Sunday, December 16 at 3:30 p.m. (Tompkin’s Park on 17 Ave. and 8 St. S.W.) for a public pillow fight. Consider yourself invited.
There is no method to this madness. It is not a political statement or some elaborate marketing gimmick but simply an event meant to encourage as many people as possible to engage in a sheer act of fun with absolute reckless abandon.
Public pillow fights have taken place all over the world, from Vancouver to London, Paris, Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires, and are likely one of the most prolific examples of flash mobs — a spontaneous gathering of large groups of people to perform a bizarre action, in unison, for a short period of time.
The flash mob movement officially started in 2003 in New York when Bill Wasik, a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine, organized a flash mob with a viral e-mail to poke fun at “hipsters” and their interest in being part of “the next big thing.” In an interview with Dean Olsher from onthemedia.org, Wasik, a self-described hipster, explains his concept: “so the idea would be to, you know, take the buzz around an art project and remove the art project — and all you have left is the buzz, and that was the idea.”
As flash mobs spread beyond their Manhattan playground, they grew to encapsulate a wide range of things, including synchronized applause, laughing mobs, bubble-blowing mobs, zombie walks, silent raves, water fights, duck-duck-goose games and endless zigzagging Conga lines.
A celebration of organized chaos, flash mobs are more than just a silly trend — they are an opportunity to step out of the daily grind, to engage with other people and, if only for an instant, to release your inner child and let loose.
This is the first of many pillow fights to come, and as the official unofficial organizer of this particular event, I look forward to seeing you this Sunday with your pillow, ready for battle.
For more information and links to YouTube videos, visit the Flash Mob Calgary group on Facebook.