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Lying Down Game, also known as planking in Australia, is a mass-participatory meme that involves having one’s photograph taken whilst lying rigidly face down in public space and then sharing the image via internet. Since becoming popular through Facebook around June 2009, the viral game has spawned thousands of photos of people lying flat in public landscapes across the world:
A plat ventre is a French art website started by Alexis Clairet and Stenkat in 2004 with the prospects to host pictures from people posing “à plat ventre” (On one’s belly). The first picture, dating from the 3rd of July 2004. Contrary to what would become the Lying down game, with a body in a straight line facing down, here, people are shown as they would have impacted the ground.
As of today, that website contains more than 100 photos divided in different categories and its creators have also appeared on France inter French radio.
In 2006, two UK friends Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon created a Facebook group, which attracted over 1500 facebook users within the first two weeks. Dubbed as “the most bizarre internet meme” by blogs and local news media, the game eventually went international with contributions from across the world. Today, Lying Down Game’s Facebook page boasts over 99,000 followers and 19,000+ image submissions.
While similar to Playing Dead, it seems the two games grew independently of each other. The Lying Down Game challenges players to lie down in the most outlandish places possible and the players are meant to appear alive when the photo is taken.
Aims & Rules of Lying Down Game
- More Public the Better.
- Larger the Group, the Better.
- No location is out of bound when playing the game.
- Palm of hands held against the sides, toes touching the ground.
- A disregard for personal safety is to be held in higher esteem.
In July 2009, SKY News Anchor Martin Stanford attempted the Lying Down Game:
Controversy: Employees Caught Lying Down on the Job
Due to the game’s simplicity and pointlessness, it was embraced by all ages and demographics across the UK. However in September 2009, a controversy arose when seven public hospital staff were suspended for arranging group stunts of “lying down” in the facilities and then uploading the pictures on the Facebook group page. The situation was covered by The Guardian, BBC News, Fox News and CNN. Since the incident, the photographs of employees lying down in the hospital have been removed by Facebook.
On August 27, 2009, a British musician / video blogger BenLoka posted an instructional video about the Lying Down game, inviting other YouTubers to lie down and post response videos. Many can be found in the video gallery below.
In early 2011, the game resurfaced on Facebook with the name “Planking”, and the FB page has over 143,000 likes as of May 16th, 2011. It started to become a sensational news story in Australian media, and was further spread when Australian rugby player David “Wolfman” Williams started using it as a signature move during rugby games on March 27th, 2011.
For more information on “planking”, please read KYMdb – Planking.
On May 15th, 2011, 20 year old Acton Beale from Brisbane, Australia fell to his death after reportedly attempting a plank.
Australian police reported that a young man took a deadly tumble from a seventh-floor balcony in Brisbane on Sunday while he was “planking,” a stunt that involves lying flat on your stomach in an odd or dangerous situation while someone takes a picture and posts it on social media forums.
The Telegraph – Doctors Suspended After Playing Facebook Lying Down Game