Thursday, May 19, 2011

Planking | A brief history | Claims its first fatality | Adults creating a world wide playground



As you know I have a fascination for all things 'web' and the impact it has on our lives from the profound to the ignorant and in that vein I've been fascinated by the craze of planking that has swept through Australia and beyond. Now before I get corrected by anyone I am not writing a piece on the history of planking or 'The Lying Down Game' just to the phenomena and influence the web has had on this craze.

For the uninitiated here follows planking 101 (the rules of which there are relatively few); 
  1. You must lie face down, palms flat against your sides
  2. Put your feet together and point them towards the floor. 
  3. Points are awarded for an original location and for the number of spectators and participants involved. 
  4. You must, of course, have somebody take a photo. Without a photo, well, you're just a person lying down!
This then is planking, and depending on your point of view it's either a global participatory art project, the lazy man's free-running, a "pointless Internet craze" or the new flash-mobbing.

Now I think it's probably at this point we agree (or agree to disagree) that Planking or the 'Lying Down Game' is not exactly a new phenomena and certainly not 'invented' by the Ozzie's, back in 2009 Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star filed a report which can be read here.

What has really caught my attention about this however is how the phenomena reminds me of stuff we would do when we were kids and how without the Internet the same kind of craze or 'phenomena' would be repeated in playgrounds across the UK, for example;


The Girls; Claps, Elastics (mainly played by girls but I admit it I did play it home with my sister and her best friend - oh the shame!)

The Boys; The Fainting Game (admittedly played by both boys and girls)


My point though is these craze's happened up and down playgrounds in the UK way before (and I mean WAY before the Internet) and whilst there may have been subtle variations the variations were too subtle to matter.




The Internet craze that is planking has claimed its first fatality - Acton Beale, 20, was trying to lie face down on a balcony railing while "planking", the new craze that involves lying face down in a public place and posting photos on the web.