Aside from the Nine to Five

Agendaless Random Events: Moderated Self-Regulation = Sustainable Model?

How do we scale large crowd events appropriately, so that more people can enjoy them without the property damage we’re seeing more of now? This assumes we want them to be scaled. That’s a whole second question.

The spirit of deliberate purposelessness which permeates these events works well to encourage attendance. Something about having no agenda allows anyone to come to a pillow fight or a game of tag, because there is no necessity to buy into a cause or idea, aside from the idea that fun is fun.

The lack of agenda, however, has created some difficulties in promoting self-regulation in terms of the after-effects of events. These after-effects can overshadow the positivity of the event itself in the wider public perception. Most people appreciate the value of random fun; however, random fun which results in property damage is less accessible to the general public. To give our events the space to be recognized as valid uses of public space for fun, ensuring that they aren’t antagonistic is important. The public perception of these events as valid and acceptable relies partially on the social consciousness we demonstrate. We don’t need the permission of the larger social world to do these events, yet having fewer police show up to our stuff, as we demonstrate that we are indeed a self-regulating community, would be nice.

Community should be somewhat self-aware and self-preserving, or it’s just a big group of people doing the same thing. Self-regulating community is a wonderful thing to encourage; mobs feeling collectively powerful enough to ignore the physical community’s right not to be wrecked are not sustainable over time. Purposelessness and respect for the physical community hosting the event can coexist. Placing the importance of our community over the importance of the physical community just brings police and sad city workers who have to clean up after us.

To maintain the amazing, purposeless fun we have in NYC, I work to avoid alienating our host communities by introducing post-event opportunities to help participants clean up, so that we can keep on rocking with positive reception and a lack of heavy police presence. What other solutions are there?

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