Frozen Progress (2001)

Frozen Progress


A site-specific event presented in the 200 year old Royal Geographical Society Building in Kensington, London. The work combined an ongoing cyclical performance in the main lecture theatre with four related installations placed in various rooms around the building. The audience was free to make their own journeys between the pieces.

Further Details

The Performance

The performance juxtaposed themes from the Great Expeditions of the 20th century against the comparatively mundane experiences of four performers. Material for the performance was collected through a series of micro-journeys, short 5 miles walks traveling north of the RGS building, and documented by the performers in notebooks and on cheap disposable cameras.
This documentation of the everyday was re-framed and presented in the context of an epic exploration.

The Installations

The installations were sited in a variety of rooms, the most notable being the central map room:
The function of a map room is usually to view the outside from inside, the grand scale of a new continent perhaps from a more modest and smaller setting of a living room.
In a contemporary setting however very little of the outside remains unexplored. In response to this the map room installation was created to shift the viewer’s attention back to the immediate surrounding space rather than the outside; looking at the inside from the inside if you like.A small ultrasonic radar was positioned in the middle of the room detecting the positions of the public as they passed through the space. These positions were displayed on an image of a large radar screen projected onto one of the walls of the room.
The installation aimed to set up two situations:

  1. One asking the viewer to contemplate their physical relationship to the immediate surrounding space in cartographical terms.
  2. The other creating a situation where the grand and the mundane were seen next to each other and of similar status – the radar screen projected in the context of the maps from historical polar explorations.

The technology employed in Frozen Progress fed directly into the projects The Public Record 2002 and Remote Dancing 2004.

Video Documentation


2001 The Royal Geographical Society Building in Kensington, London


Performed and co-devised by:  Navraj Sidhu, Carly Jefferson, Stuart Mayes, Sterling Steward
Electronic sound score and sonic environments: Mark Horrocks
Programming: Joe Lewis
Direction and installations: Nic Sandiland

supported by The London Arts Board