Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mass Freeze in Seoul at COEX Mall, South Korea 2009

This past Saturday Julianne and I headed to COEX Mall in Seoul for the first ever (in Korea) "Mass Freeze" event. I have to say that if my friend Sonya hadn't sent me an invite and pushed me to check it out that I would have missed out on attending--thank you Sonya!

If you don't know what a "mass freeze" is it's kind of like the inverse of a "flash mob."

Michael Jackson flash mob in sweden

My favorite flash mob video by far is this one where "More than 200 dancers were performing their version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music"."

Getting back to the Mass Freeze in Seoul . . . The instructions posted on facebook by Carol Benton said, "Mass Freeze like Improv Everywhere does in NYC but we are going to do it in Seoul. For those of you that don't understand what it is: A large amount of people all freeze in place at the exact same second for 5 minutes in a largely populated and busy place. (i.e. Grand Central Station in NYC) This will cause many people to become confused and stop to look and around to try and figure out whats going on."

See this link for an interview transcript with Carol about why she organized the event.

Go to Improv Everywhere's website to learn more about a mass freeze that was done in Grand Central Station, New York City.

From Improv Everywhere's website, "On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a sudden halt. Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station. Over 500,000 people rush through Grand Central every day, but today, things slowed down just a bit as commuters and tourists alike stopped to notice what was happening around them. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos."

Apparently another mass freeze was done in London in 2008.

Even earlier than the London freeze is this one that was done in Fallowfield, Manchester in 2007.

Anyways, Saturday morning Julianne and I headed to COEX Mall. The trip by subway was really nice . . .

We ate lunch with some friends. My little buddy here had a plate that was bigger than he was!

The sign-in area . . .

Finding your name on the list . . .

The open square here had some pyramids . . .

Carol giving instructions about where the freeze will take place, and what to do.

Facebook said there were 470 confirmed guests for this event, but I think maybe a 100-150 or so actually showed up.

Some people stayed and hung out for a while after Carol gave the instructions, while others began to wander over to the freeze zone.

I went to the freeze zone to do some test shots and get my camera ready.

2:40pm arrived--the freeze began . . .

This was one of the best dynamic group freeze poses . . .

I really like the intensity of the woman in blue's face yet she still maintained the freeze--wow.

I was using a slow shutter speed in order to capture the blurring of people in each picture who were not frozen to distinguish them from the freeze-people.

Everyone was warned to choose their poses carefully: five minutes may not seem very long but when you have to hold the position it IS.

One of these guys is moving, the other is not. Changing your shutter speed on the fly is NOT easy to do--I wish I'd been able to get one more shot of this with a slightly slower speed. As it is you can still see the movement, I think.

These guys had a very dynamic pose. I'm still trying to figure out what the hand game is that they're playing--is it some kind of dongchim (if you've taught public school in Korea, or are Korean, you'll know what I mean, lol) game that I don't know? Lol . . .

I LOVED this guy's pose. The ajusshi in the background gave him the funniest look as he came out of the bookstore . . .

. . . and the ajumma walking by in the background on his right was pretty puzzled too.

I liked that this pose really messes with the mind because there were photographers walking around taking pictures--and then there's this guy standing static while holding his camera.

He also got quite a few interesting looks from people passing by . . . . lol.

Eating an ice-cream cone with a small pink spoon . . . the girl on the left was really thrilled by the event . . . I wish I could have gotten two shots: one with blurring to show movement, and another with her face in focus but everything weas happening so fast it was impossible.

The ghost image of the person passing in front of him really makes him stand out . . .

I love the hand-over-the-mouth-oh-my-god-what's-going-on-here expressions I saw, lol.

This pair had a great pose too. I also really admired their bravery in not wearing sunglasses and smiling for the whole five minutes--way to go!

This group had a fantastic set up and pose--but I nearly stepped on a digital camera that was sitting on the floor. I was so freaked out by this that I moved it to a safer place. I hope they weren't upset by my moving it but the idea of someone stepping on a camera freaks me out.

Anyways, I really liked their pose too.

And it was around this point that I realized how short five minutes actually is when you're trying to take good pictures, frame your composition, find the best angles and lighting, etc. I began flying around trying to get everyone but it was just not possible . . .

While the frozen people are awesome, the people reacting in the backgrounds of the pictures are a lot of fun to see.

The guy to the left of this woman really seemed to be enjoying the event.

Originally the freeze location was supposed to have been in the courtyard area that you walk through when exiting the subway and going into the mall. However, there was some sort of double-booking problem or something and a computer game TV show stage, lighting equipment, and TV cameras were all being set up there--so Carol had to change locations on the fly . . .

Unfortunately this particular part of COEX Mall didn't have as much customer traffic as I think people would have liked, and the freezers were a little too concentrated within the area. Another thing that seemed in play was that a large gathering of foreign people in Korea may actually deter some Koreans from walking into the area of the freeze. Avoiding a dense concentration of mass freezers might be something to consider for next year.

I didn't see any Korean news media or photojournalists at the event. That's too bad, but maybe next year will see more attention given to this event.

This couple did a great job--not even a flicker of movement.

This was one of the busier traffic areas of the freeze zone. This woman was getting a lot of interesting looks from people passing by, lol.

One of my favorite pictures from the series I took.

And this is another of my favorites. I really like how well the ghost images of people walking by showed up--and damn, the woman on the left must have a titanium spine with killer mucles to have held that semi-bent position for five minutes, wow.

And here's the last and the best of all the poses I saw: rock, paper, scizzors--for a mass freeze in Korea there is no other dynamic pose better suited for the first ever Mass Freeze in Korea!

While I walked around taking pics, Julianne stayed in one position making a video with my Flip Mino. Some people asked us to watch their bags, and Julianne ended up agreeing to do that while I took pictures. I wish she'd been able to walk around more cause I think the footage would have been more interesting. As it is we got some good stuff, and I'm posting it here.

2:45pm . . . the freeze stops. The bizarre thing for me is that the pics I took after the freeze kind of still look like the freeze was taking place, lol.

Foreign/er also was at the event. She wrote up a blog post here, and this is her video footage.

As I find more videos and pictures on other blogs I'll update this post and add them.

I hope next year's Mass Freeze event in Seoul gets a bigger turnout--it was AWESOME!!!


I really like this mass freeze called "The Great Trafalgar Square Freeze." From the description on youtube, "The day London froze. Inspired by and made a reality by 100's of volunteers. At exactly 3:30pm on a secret cue, almost everyone in the square froze. The few bewildered tourists didn't know what was happening. For 5 minutes the participants held their positions, and then magically everyone unfroze."

A flash mob descend on Madrid's central train station to perform a spontaneous mass freeze.


Anonymous said...

That's AWESOME!!

AM said...

Love your pictures. I heard about this on FB I think but couldnt manage going. Would love to do it next time though.

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A.T. said...

Those two guys with their hands locked are doing "dirty cat", at least that's what we called it in university. If you lock your hands like that and then open your palms and look inside, it generally looks like a well-groomed version of lady bits. Try it for yourself!