Jerwood FVU

Naheed Raza

When Naheed Raza was selected for the commission phase of the first set of Jerwood/FVU Awards, she decided to return to her initial researches and continue the enquiries into the phenomenon of cryonics she had begun in her pilot project. Her contributions therefore consisted of two variations on the same theme, both entitled Frozen in Time – a short introductory trailer (presented as a two-screen projection) and an extended documentary film. Needless to say, her subject matter – people’s hopes that future technological advances might restore life to the body after death – resonated beautifully with the exhibition title, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.

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Frozen in Time, 2013 
49 minutes, 59 seconds
Single channel video

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.

Frozen in Time was commissioned as part of the Jerwood/FVU Awards: 'Tomorrow Never Knows', a collaboration between Jerwood Visual Arts and Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) in association with CCA, Glasgow. FVU is supported by Arts Council England.


Video


Image Galleries

Stills, ‘Frozen in Time’

Jerwood Space, 14 March – 22 April 2012

Jerwood Space, 16 January – 24 February 2013

CCA, Glasgow, 7 June – 20 July 2013

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