Spontaneous interventions

These interventions create circumstances for socialization, enjoyment, and togetherness in cities. This type establishes an alternate urban realm through the creation of diverse scenarios that reinforce too- often underappreciated social values, such as creativity, spontaneity, and togetherness. For example, one could mention Newmindspace’s (Lori Kufner and Kevin Bracken) series of pillow fights, capture the flag, 5000-egg Easter egg hunts, and bubble battles. The Toronto and New York duo define their activities as “interactive public art, creative cultural interventions and urban bliss dissemination” (Newmindspace 2007). Formed by two undergraduate students at the University of Toronto, the group focuses exclusively on creating free urban play experiences. They organize regular events and largely rely on social media to generate participation. Newmindspace considers their activities as a means of “inventing new ways of having fun”, reclaiming public space and creating community. Foremost, they present urban play and collective action as an important and undervalued experience in contemporary life.9 This type of social participation testifies to the possibility of temporary, playful eruptions. People attend: they will gather and, to varying degrees, act and socialize in a manner outside their everyday activities. So while this format offers a model through which one can study the dynamics of social interaction, temporary collective participation is often both the process and outcome of such projects.

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