Posts Tagged ‘Improv’

Being part of a “Happening”

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Last weekend I was part of an internet happening. I went to Improv Everywhere’s MP3 Experiment in San Fransisco.. I was picked up a couple of friends and we drove up to SF. After picking up a fourth we stopped off for lunch before heading to near Mission Dolores Park.

We were told to turn up with an umbrella, an un-inflated balloon, and having downloaded the MP3 from the web site on to our iPods, and synchronised our time pieces with the clock on the site. This we did. While we were sat as a group, waiting for 2.00 pm, we could see people come and go from the park. In some cases it was obvious who were other participants as they were wearing appropriately coloured t-shirts, carrying umbrellas or had headphones in their ears. Despite this we still didn’t know just how many would be there.

At precisely 2.00 pm we started the track playing. I did not listen to mine before event so I had no idea what was on it. After a few minutes of trancy music a ‘disembodied’ voice started giving us instructions. Shortly after that we knew who was involved when we all stood up simultaneously. Supposedly ‘random’ people all across the park stood up. And then the sillyness ensued.

After waving to one another we:

  • high fived random strangers in the park (everyone was happy to cooperate),
  • hugged inanimate objects (trees, lamp posts, telephone polls, swings and so on),
  • hugged animate objects (which involved packs of people chasing dogs),
  • hugged participants in different coloured shirts.

Then we had to put up our umbrellas and congregate in one area of the park. That was then we realised just how many had turned up. Further activities were:

  • Thumb wars
  • Attacker/Defender (where you had to keep a ‘defender’ you had nominated between you and your ‘attacker’)
  • Tetris

Culminating in a balloon war between red and yellow, and, blue and green. Since no one wins in a war we had to all ‘die’ in our own way leaving the ‘battlefield’ covered in ‘dead’. Since I was a red shirt I had to ‘die’ early in the proceedings.

Me being part of a red L shaped Tetris piece

Me (spiky bag) being part of a red L shaped Tetris piece (Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

The entire event was photographed by a set of photographers and filmed from a helicopter hovering above. The movie should be out soon at which point I will post a link.

The follow up to the event is here and has links to photo galleries.