Last April, the Rijksmuseum, the Museum of Netherlands, and their major sponsor ING celebrated the reopening of the museum after lengthy renovations by organizing a unique flash mob. They recreated one of Rembrandt's most famous works, the Night Watch, in a shopping mall.
The performance is a delight to watch but it also does two things. It challenges our conception of what a "flash mob" is and shows that these new social phenomenon can be used in creative ways that expand our vision. This is because it creates the sense of depth and story captured in the well-known work. While it achieves the goal of bringing art to the people to encourage them to come to the museum, it also provides an experience that can unlock a whole new level of understanding by transforming the images into actors with intent. These masterpieces—and art in general—are not just 'pictures' but representations of larger stories. Seeing them animated with such care and authenticity can encourage viewers to take a deeper look beyond the surface.