According to a piece in the Harvard Crimson: “Eric R. Brewster ’14 and Avery A. Leonard ’14 fought off drooping eyelids and the urge to sleep last week as they held a phone conversation that lasted for 46 hours, 12 minutes, 52 seconds, and 228 milliseconds—potentially setting a new world record.”
Those wacky Harvard kids! Trying to break world records in their spare time. But wait! This stunt is so much more than that. It’s an “art installation,” according to the organizers. It was actually “the premiere creation of the Harvard Generalist, a new student arts cooperative.”
How was this art, you might ask? “Stage Manager Ginny C. Fahs ’14 said that the performance was much like an athletic competition because it required extreme endurance from Leonard and Brewster. ‘This explored deterioration—physical, mental, and emotional,’ Fahs said. ‘Because of that deterioration, the balance between art and sport was explored.’”
Pity the “timekeepers” for this event. One of them describes the deterioration he witnessed: “For the first eight hours I was here, they were very excited and had original topics... Now you can see their fatigue, and they’re ready to sleep. You could see them rambling as time progressed.”
Ahh yes, of course. I think back to the rambling, deteriorating late-night phone conversations I had in high school. Little did I know I was making art. I say this not simply to mock--that’s too easy. But just to once again suggest that maybe college students have too much time on their hands.
Perhaps this was the most revealing comment in the article: “Generalist members said the temptation to sleep and to read aloud in lieu of genuine conversation posed the biggest threats to the performers.” There you have it. College students must resist the temptation to read books.