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Students create flash mob

Anna Boarini | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Wednesday night, diners at North Dining Hall were treated to a special surprise when they swiped in around 6:30 p.m. — a piece of live performance poetry.

As a way to promote the Silent Disco event at Legends this Saturday, senior Britt Burgeson, who is on the marketing team for the nightclub, decided to coordinate her own version of the Mp3 Experiment.

“The Mp3 [Experiment] is a flash mob of sorts,” she said. “It’s a 21st century happening.”

The Mp3 Experiment is the brainchild of Improv Everywhere, a New York City-based prank group. Staged yearly in New York City, the group also tours college campuses and international festivals.

According to Improv Everywhere’s website, improveverywhere.com, the group puts an original Mp3 file online that people download and transfer to their mobile devices.

Participants will head out to the same public location and at the same time, everyone presses play. Participants carry out coordinated instructions that are delivered to their headphones, confusing outsiders.

Burgeson decided to bring the Mp3 Experiment to campus after experiencing one of the events this summer in New York City.

“I was involved in one event this summer at Battery Park,” she said. “You follow the instructions from a track downloaded on your phone — they are varied and ridiculous,” she said.

She said the MP3@ND event came into being during a Legends marketing meeting.

“I was in charge of promoting the Feb. 23 to 25 events, one of which is a silent disco,” she said. “I was unfamiliar with the term — this is Legends’ first time hosting this nightclub. I wanted to make sure people knew what the ‘Silent Disco’ would look like.”

Burgeson said participants downloaded an almost seven minute Mp3 file to their phones, iPods and other mobile devices.

Students then showed up at North on Wednesday night and followed the instructions on the track.

Sophomore Nicole Brooks said she enjoyed participating in the event.

“This was a really fun idea to go and bring attention to what’s going on with Silent Disco,” she said. “Plus, it is fun to do something insane.”

Brooks said she expects this weekend’s Silent Disco to be a unique experience because when people enter Legends, no music will actually be playing. Instead, people will pick one of two tracks to listen to with their headphones.

Burgeson said it was fun to watch students’ reactions to MP3@ND.  

“It was interesting, and I enjoyed watching people who had no idea what was going on,” she said.

She said members of NDTV filmed the event and will create a YouTube video to be posted on the Legends YouTube channel.

While Burgeson enjoyed herself and said the event went smoothly, she said she is not sure if she would coordinate a similar event again.

“This is the beauty of performance art — it happens once, and if you miss it, you miss it,” she said. “I just hope people can enjoy watching it again on the video.”