David Horvitz is the NYC artist who one day decided to take a picture for a blog accompanied with simple instructions. Now, thousands of people in several countries still to this day continue to post pictures online with their heads in freezers tagged with a seemingly arbitrary number. David has been interviewed before on the topic but we had some questions of our own that we wanted to ask as well.
Q: We have seen Heads in Freezers extend to places like Brazil and Japan, have you seen any notable trends from other countries or countries you would like to see pick it up?
A: I would really love for it to get big in Estonia or Korea. Maybe someone reading this will translate it to Korean. I’ve seen different news websites from many different countries, but only in Japan and Brazil I have seen large amounts of participation.
Q: Why try to promote this in real life and why did you choose Brazil? Do you think it would have caught on without the assistance from the flyers?
A: That wasn’t true. I lied in that interview.
Q: So are there any ideas on what really happened with Brazil and have you gotten much contact from Brazilians about this?
A: I have no idea how that actually got big in Brazil. None. I have got lots of emails from Brazilians, and Brazil news sites, but I’m not sure what happened.
Q: Are there any posts from the 2009 tumblr that you wish achieved the same status as Heads in Freezers?
A: Many of the 2009 tumblr posts aren’t traceable. The Head in the Freezer was easy to gauge how popular it got b/c it used the tag, and therefore was searchable. I think it would be funny if the one where I asked people to tape hand-written “out of order” signs onto ATMs got big but there would be no way of knowing how big it got. Regarding another traceable one, there was one where I asked people to make a 1:22 length silent video of themselves with their eyes closed and to post it to YouTube with the title “1:22 Eyes Closed.” If thousands of people did that, that would be nice.
Q: I did a search for 241543904 looking for gift wrapped heads and I didn’t find that many, are we going to see more attempts at mass image tagging in the future?
A: There will be more. Not sure when or where, but there will be more.
Q: What are your personal favorites of Heads in Freezer so far? Are there any cases where you see people go above and beyond to fulfill the requirements?
A: I think whoever bought the domain name went beyond the requirements… I don’t know who that was… Or who made the graphic that you can buy on shirts or coffee mugs… Not sure who did that either… My favorite would be this one (shown to the left).
Q: How do other artists you know respond to seeing this phenomena?
A: No artists I know have directly responded to this. Most of my friends are like, “How the fuck did you do that?” I wish some of my painter friends would make an oil painting of someone with their head in the freezer, and then photograph it and post it online.
Q: Did you ever expect so many people around the world would participate?
A: I had no idea what would happen.
Q: Finally, what are your favorite memes?
A: I like Nabe Neko because I love Japanese Food! Like this one. I like the Downfall videos, especially the one about fonts.
You can learn more about David Horvitz and his artwork on his website. You can also follow his Tumblr blog where this whole phenomena started. David also recently published a book, Everything That Can Happen In A Day, chronicling the instructions he assigned on his tumblr including Heads In Freezers. The book is available now at Amazon and direct from Random House. This interview was conducted by AJ Mazur on January 14, 2011.