Freeze was the title of an exhibition at Arti & Amicitiae, Amsterdam in the year 2000. It was an attempt to arrest the juggernaut of a technological revolution, by showing how deeply it affects the humanist worldview: in science (biotech, nanotech, infotech and gentech), in art (the end of the human quest), and in religion (the end of humility as a moral principle).
The exhibition, co-designed by René van Raalte en Harold Houdijk) had two components, both capturing a moment of a freezing humanity, one mythical, the other technological. One first had to walk through a steam cloud on which the image of Caravaggio’s portrait of Medusa was projected, symbolizing how we can lose our agency by aiming too high. The second by a giant refrigerator, where inside the imagery of modern life was projected onto the ice-lined interior. Throughout the duration of the show, the ice layer crystallized from smooth transparent black, to frosty white, slowly transforming the visual content into formless color effects until all that remained was light play. Inside the fridge with the door closed, it was impossible to stay put for longer than five minutes before you were completely frozen and had to leave. This was about trying to create the sense of a ‘freeze frame’, a specific time span, or a personal attention span, which most of the time is extremely short. It was an attempt to enhance individual awareness of the brevity of our attention span, making the installation itself a medium to eject people as rapidly as possible.