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Roots of Fight Club, Burning Man, and Flash Mobs

Ever wonder who came up with the idea to write a book about a secret society of pranksters within a secret society of fight participants? Or how a giant wood-framed “man” ended up in one of the bleakest parts of the US and then lit on fire? Welcome to the Cacophony Society, an underground group of pranksters and instigators whose story has reached over the past three decades to influence much of the zeitgeist of contemporary culture. Flash mobs and groups like Improv Everywhere and the Yes Men, and the thousands of "fight clubs" world wide are the newer generation of immediate communication and social media driven pranks and events and underground social orders. We’ll discuss the origins of the Cacophony Society, the movements that grew out of and were influenced by it -- the necessity of play in adult life and using one’s local environment as a giant playground, and how to kick-start and generate ideas to go out and make your own culture.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Why is play in adulthood important, and why do adults need to remember the element of surprise and fun, as well as collaborative interaction and imagination?
  2. How does this “play” translate to using current tools, online and mobile technology, and social media to create groups and events in the contemporary world and for the future?
  3. Where do ideas come from and what kind of events can potentially be created using the idea source as a jumping off point – and how do other ideas feed the imagination and grow into events that range from small, intimate experiences to large spectacles with many participants and activities?
  4. How can you create unpaid collaboratively built events and activities, where attendees become participants and take an active role in the outcome of the experience, where it becomes their life instead of merely another "entertainment?
  5. What kind of present day activities did the Cacophony Society influence or share an aesthetic with – and what are possibilities for DIY folks and culture hackers to take away from all this?



Carrie Galbraith, Founder, Cacophony Society

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