Improv Everywhere MP3 Experiment

Design Indaba invited Improv Everywhere to Cape Town and staged a mass prank in Camps Bay – the infamous Mp3 Experiment.

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For over a decade Charlie Todd has run Imrov Everywhere, which coordinates pranks and stunts in public spaces to cause scenes of joy and chaos. Videos of these pranks have gone viral on YouTube and Todd draws on a base of more than 1000 volunteers to help facilitate his pranks, with the ideas coming from everywhere.

In 2011, Design Indaba invited Todd to come to Cape Town to speak at the Conference, and to hold one if his pranks in Cape Town. This played out in Camps Bay on Sunday 20 February, thanks to hundred of obliging Capetonians who joined in on the fun. The prank was called the MP3 Experiment, and this is what participants were briefed to do:


1. Download the Mp3: Download Page (Right click and save the link. If you just click on the link it will start playing in your browser. Spoilers!)

Note: The filename for the track is “mp3_experiment.mp3″ and the album, artist, and track name will be “Mp3 Experiment.”

2. Load the track onto your mp3 player (iPod, etc.)

3. Do not listen to the track.

4. Wear a shirt that is one of the following colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green.

5. Bring an uninflated balloon. (Any kind of balloon that can be blown up.)

6. Bring a watch with a second hand (or use your cell phone if it displays seconds.) Before you leave, sync it up to an atomic clock.

7. As 15:00 approaches, stand or sit anywhere in the grassy area shaded zone in the map in the top images.

8. At exactly 15:00:00, press play.

Watch the video to see how the MP3 Experiment played out!

Watch next: Charlie Todd speaking at Design Indaba Conference 2011

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