On Hold

Inside an inflated film screen dome, a slowly spinning video projector reveals a man inside a wedge-shaped cell. The rotating projection recalls the path of a narrow searchlight panning a prison courtyard. Every revelation shows twenty-four hours of the life of an incarcerated person. In the film, the prisoner populates all the cells of this circular jail himself; each of the cells describes a different time of day during which the man, neighboring himself infinitum, performs tasks and activities common to the bored or listless—bouncing a ball, kicking an object down the length of the cell, and so forth.

On Hold engages the idea of homo bulla (“man is a bubble”), a metaphor for the fragility of human life often literally illustrated by floating soap bubbles in Renaissance paintings. Here, the beauty of the bubble has been transformed into a claustrophobic space of control and surveillance.

"On Hold," left
"On Hold," center
"On Hold," right
Fish-eye incubator. Illustration by Johan Mets