Planking Not Pranking

Explore the mythology of lying down in urban space

The project explored the potential mythologies of planking, lying down and face hidden in urban spaces. The action created a strong visual outcome in photos. People from different countries with a wide range of ages follow the practice. The unexpected composition of humans, objects and surrounds involves creativity. My curiosity had driven me to investigate the activity of planking and the humanity associated with it by gathering information and related theories to decode the myth.

1. Photo Shoot - Current CSM campus in Granary Square, Kings Cross

  1. A series of planking photos taken at the new CSM Granary Square Campus, open in 2012. (See above)
  2. A series of planking photos taken at old CSM Southampton Road, Holborn, closed in 2011. (See below)
  3. An interactive paper-experience visual booklet, showing two sets of planking photos. 
  4. An essay title "Planking Not Pranking – Explore the mythology of lying down in urban space".  

2. Photo Shoot - Late CSM campus in Southampton Road, Holborn

3. Planking Visual Booklet

4. PLANKING Writing   

Planking came into public interest in late 2010. The simple action of the game - lying down, face hidden, hands at your side, foots pointed - in familiar environments, can be conducted by everyone, from a baby to the elderly, regardless of gender. What makes planking strange is people lying on a surface in an environment not intended for planking. What also makes planking interesting is when we see people lying high up above the ground on objects that we do not expect. Planking is a personal activity conducted by a small group of people, being concerned with the micro-space in specific locations at a particular time, yet is also a globally dispersed practice. Planking photos uploaded by worldwide practitioners circulate among social networking sites on the Internet. The activity is very visual and performative. Planking addresses the human body in urban spaces. It does not give any particular statement, but it presents implicit enunciation and meaning. It has room for creativity and production of desires. It produces space, time and social being. Therefore, based on the marginal position of planking, this spatial practice enables us to study the humanity associated in urban space in our daily life. To explore the mystery of planking, we would investigate the subject from interdisciplinary methodologies, through the connection of different area of theories. I would cover briefly the area that humanity would associate with the urban space, and bring it back to the explanation of planking through the studies of spatial practice to explain the subject in depth. The planking photos together with artwork in public space were used as the main evidence to support the writing.