Continuing the trajectory of her Tomorrow Never Knows pilot project Frozen in Time, Naheed Raza’s new commission deepens her exploration of the phenomenon of cryonics. Pioneered in the 1960s by the American scientist Robert Ettinger, cryonics is premised on preserving and storing the human body at sub-zero temperatures in the hope that it can be recovered and reanimated in the future when medical technology is more advanced. Although it can sometimes seem like a product of wacky post-war science fiction, cryonics has quietly sustained itself over the last few decades, bolstered by a growing acknowledgement within the medical fraternity that the point of actual brain death or bodily shutdown is not quite as clear-cut as once was first thought. Featuring interviews with leading figures in the field (and members of the public who have requested that their bodies are preserved for posterity), Raza’s video is punctuated with atmospheric footage shot at various cryonics institutes in the USA. Evocative, compelling and strangely affecting, the piece foregrounds the medical, ethical and philosophical uncertainties surrounding the process and contrasts them with the age-old fantasy by which humankind has sought to evade nature’s ultimate limit.
Thursday 30 January 2014
8 June - 20 July 2013
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
16 January - 24 February 2013
Jerwood Visual Arts at Jerwood Space, London
Frozen in Time was commissioned as part of the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards: Tomorrow Never Knows, a collaboration between Jerwood Visual Arts and FVU in association with Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. Film and Video Umbrella is supported by Arts Council England.