HOLD OFF: The Time of Fun is an immersive performative media project based on the reflection, reconstruction and speculation upon the phenomena of terror, the role of the state, hostages, and voluntary and involuntary spectators. The artist uses as a point of reference the Beslan school siege, a terrorist attack that started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the imprisonment of more than 1,100 people as hostages and ended with the deaths of 333 people, as well as 31 of the attackers. The artist uses the economy of public attention to design a reality of historical inevitability vs the reality of contingency due to speculation about the possible solution of the tragedy. The task can be solved with the active physical involvement of the audience mediated by the artist.
Through the gesture of giving the trigger button to the participants, the artist wants to recreate an affective situation of an ethical impossibility. On the one hand, it gives a feeling of personal responsibility: the people are alive, as long as one is holding the button. On the other hand, it provides an impression of the inevitability of the historical precedent. Pressing the button brings the participant in an ambiguous position: that of a terrorist craving for media attention, or of a “situation hostage” suddenly given the trigger button – be it one of the real hostages, or a TV bystander, whose attention may be crucial in this crude political bargain, and whose indifference may be fatal for many. The bystander’s attention and involvement can postpone the inevitable and give the hostages hope to survive.