At 8:20 p.m., the body artist Chris Burden entered a large gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Art, did not look at his audience of 400 or more, set a clock for midnight, and lay down on the floor beneath a large sheet of plate glass that was angled against the wall. So commenced on April 11  a deceptively simple piece of conceptual art that would eventually involve the imaginations of thousands of Chicagoans who had never heard of Burden, would cause the museum to fear for Burden’s life, and would end at a time and in a way that Burden did not remotely anticipate.
As I read this entry from Roger Ebert’s journal, I am standing on a sidewalk in downtown Ottawa, waiting for a bus.
I arrived at the stop at 5:17 p.m. No one else is waiting; I’ve just missed a bus.
[Burden, lying on the floor,] was wearing a Navy blue sweater and pants, and jogging shoes. He let his hands rest easily at his sides and looked up at the ceiling, blinking occasionally. He could not see the clock.
The audience perhaps expected more. There was a pregnant period of silence, about 10 minutes, and when at the end of it nothing else had happened, there were a few loud whistles and sporadic outbursts of clapping. Burden did not react. At various times during the next two hours, audience members tried to approach Burden with advice, greetings, exhortations, and a red carnation. They were politely but firmly kept away by the museum attendants. A girl threw her brassiere at the glass; it was taken away by a smiling guard. At 10:30 p.m., when I left, the crowd had dwindled down to perhaps 100.
There are three bus routes I can take home at the end of a long work day. I prefer this one, because it drops me off closest to my door. On the other hand, it is unreliable during the afternoon rush hour. At other times of day, I never have a problem. But 5:17 p.m., and I’ve just missed a bus? It’s a bad sign.
I consider taking one of the other routes, and decide against it.
I stand. I wait.
At 1:15 a.m., I went to the pay telephone and called Alene [the museum's publicist]. She said Burden was still on the floor. I said the hell with it and drove back downtown to the museum. Burden had not moved. […]
“He doesn’t move except for what look like isometric flexings,” Alene Valkanas said “He flexes his fingers sometimes, and once in a while you can see his toes flexing.” Burden seemed removed to a great distance. He was not asleep. There was no way to tell if he was in a meditative trance, or had hypnotized himself, or was fully aware of his surroundings. After an hour, I left very quietly, as if from a church.