Although the Stanford MP3 Experiment was not fully executed within the current academic year, several components went into the creation and development of the project. The MP3 Experiment modelled those executed by the organization Improv Everywhere, and took on the form of a fifteen-minute MP3 file that was distributed through an informational website on Wordpress. This MP3 was a melange of music produced by Stanford students and a distorted voice that gave instructions for various activities, such as a ninja fight, fountain hopping in the claw, and drawing portraits of one another. The informational blog not only served as the distribution center of the MP3, but also included instructions on how the MP3 Experiment would work and what materials were necessary, as well as updates on the process. Finally, a flyer was made and distributed across the east side of campus, as well as posted on Facebook, Gleepost, and CampusQuad.
When I participated in my first MP3 Experiment, I was surprised at how few materials could bring an enormous crowd of strangers together. I started thinking about community and how the concept could be tweaked to fit the Stanford undergraduate culture; if a simple MP3 could bring complete strangers together, the possibilities for bringing together the members of a university campus were significant. I wanted to infuse the project with familiar Stanford traditions while maintaining the fun and mystery that Improv Everywhere had cultivated in their experiments, and bring together the community in a new and unusual way.
After fully understanding the scope of the project and the amount of time left to execute it, the aims switched from attempting a full-fledged realization of the project to understanding the process of putting together an event like this and creating the materials that could be used for an execution in the fall. As a result of the assignment, I learned how to budget time, publicize, and put together the necessary parts of a public event, as well as recognize the need for a public interest gauge.
The intended audience was undergraduates, but with only a basic stat tracker on Wordpress, it was hard to gauge exactly who was viewing the informational site. However, it is also possible that law students were included in the audience, as a number of flyers ended up concentrated on the law campus.
While the actual MP3 comprised the majority of the materials needed for the project, publicity and word of mouth was just as, if not more, important. In order to prepare for the potential number of participants, I submitted a notification to the members in charge of maintaining White Plaza. After getting the okay, I created the flyer, a minimalistic concept, on Photoshop and proceeded to print numerous copies at Kinko’s to distribute across campus. I also shared the digital file on Facebook, Gleepost, and CampusQuad. This was done over several days within a week and a half of the event. A Facebook event was created, as well as the informational Wordpress blog that contained a small FAQ, the instructions for participating in the event, and eventually the link to download the MP3. Finally, the MP3 was recorded and completed within two days of the event and uploaded to the Wordpress site.
Because of an error in the flyers and the timing of events outside of my control, the MP3 Experiment did not take place this year. However, I hope to execute it sometime during the beginning of fall quarter, where there may be more attendance. I will make the necessary changes to the flyer and website and redistribute the information then, and I will use the same MP3 for the experiment.