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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freezing Prague...

Well, the temperatures in Prague have dipped in recent days to the low 30s, and there is a dusting of snow on the ground for the first time in two months, but the "Prague freezing" that i'm talking about isn't related to the weather.

"Freezings" have occured in other cities before - New York, Paris and even Portland - and involve a flash mob showing up at a predetermined location and then standing still and quiet, freezing" for two minutes.

We had our first Prague freezing yesterday at the Muzeum metro station at 5:09 PM. I was in the same metro station at 5:32 PM so I missed the event by about 20 minutes. What did I miss? Well, thanks to YouTube here is a video from last night's freezing.

The Prague Daily Monitor reports on the freezing today. It's an interesting article, but I have to admit that it seems to me that this is justproof that a bunch of slackers habe too much time on their hands. This is just a varient of the chinese fire drills that we used to do with friends in cars at intersections. The article doesn't mention any motive, such as protest, so maybe it's supposed to be performance art. But as I have told people before, if I could do it then it is by definition not art.

Freezing Prague 2008: Hundreds block metro station
By Jan Flemr / Prague Daily Monitor / Published 19 March 2008

Hundreds of Czechs, mostly in their early twenties, flooded and then literally blocked access to the Muzeum metro station from Wenceslas Square after 5pm Tuesday. They all wanted to freeze.

Following the example of the public stunts held in New York's Grand Central Station in January and in London's Trafalgar Square a month later, the organisers sent out e-mails to recruit participants. But things got out of hand.

The idea behind the "flash mob" event was to bring together people who would "freeze" in the same place at the same moment and hold for two minutes. "If you are eating a banana, freeze with the banana in your mouth!" read the invitation.

"At 17:09 a man dressed all in orange will move around the [metro station] vestibule to alert all the people that the flash mob will start soon," said the message. The "Orange Man", wearing an orange tracksuit with a hood, appeared bang on time. He was visibly surprised by the crowd that he had to fight his way through. Then he raised his arm and the mob froze and fell silent.

"Where are you?" one of the rare passers-by who dared to force their way through the crowd cried, drawing a few smiles. Someone laughed out loud. "Máňo!" called another, prompting more laughs. Two policemen stood nearby, watching incredulously.

Then the Orange Man moved, and the crowd started to disperse. Several people clapped, and a small group around the man in the tracksuit made a speedy – considering the circumstances – retreat to Wenceslas Square. On the way out, the Orange Man took off his hood as if to puzzle the crowd that was chasing him with cameras held high.

A while later, resting at the foot of the St Wenceslas statue, the Orange Man, who refused to give his real name, said, "I thought it was for 30 to 40 people, not for 1,500." He was exaggerating, but when asked about his estimate, he just shrugged: "Many. I have no idea."

And, asked if he was happy with the outcome, he was quick with a response. "No. It should have been different."

The next freezing event is scheduled to take place in two months, said a young man standing next to the Orange Man. "Next time it will be strictly unofficial," he added, still shaking his head in disbelief.

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