With productions like The Life And Times Of Thomas Thumb Jr. (a short where the titular character has a “giant fuckin’ thumb for a head”) and the Adult Swim-featured R.P.M. 2, which found him duct taping a camera to his car’s wheel and driving around Milwaukee’s East Side, filmmaker Ryan Fox has shown he isn’t afraid to take his work to strange and unconventional places at times. Recently, when he was asked to document the experience of sitting in silence for two hours for a film class assignment, the Milwaukee-based writer and director decided to turn the camera on himself to capture it for a video he dubbed “the world’s longest and worst mannequin challenge.”
Deep into the cultural phenomenon’s fourteenth minute of fame, the “Mannequin Challenge” features people being filmed while holding completely still. Though the recent online sensation has been done to death, Fox claims his two-hour pose is the longest in existence. Since he blinks and shifts positions throughout, he also considers his attempt to be the world’s worst Mannequin Challenge. He shot it in his home, and says he nearly had to start over when one of his lights malfunctioned around the 24-minute mark.
While it’s far from perfect, the video documents one person’s odd and taxing personal struggle to avoid modern distractions and will to remain as focused, present, and silent as possible through 120 minutes. How did Fox pass the time?
“I sat there and stared at the lens of my camera. When I got bored with that, I decided to sit there and stare at the lens of my camera,” Fox says. “I was thinking there’s 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 hours in a substantial Golden Girls marathon. So I started to count in my head until my alarm went off.” What the video lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in a guy staring into a camera for two hours. Check it out before officially saying goodbye to the Mannequin Challenge.