Goodness, look what the internet has done now. The Observer has learned that a search for the random number “241543903″ in Google’s Images search leads down a wormhole into a Dadaist conspiracy: the “heads in freezers” meme.
The meme peaked in March, but was revived recently by a post on Tumblr, according to meme-detective Jay Hathaway of Urlesque:
The head-in-a-freezer photo meme was started in April 2009 by David Horvitz, a New York artist known for (among other things) starting a subscription service for his daily photos of the sky. At the time, Horvitz was running a Tumblr where he would post instructions to his audience each day. These were generally off-the-wall things like “record a dramatic reading of a YouTube comment fight” or “ask to watch the sunset from the roof of the tallest building near your house.” In November of this year, David had a book of these instructions, Everything That Can Happen in a Day, published by Random House.
Taking a photo with your head in the freezer and tagging it with the seemingly random number “241543903″ was one of these instructions. Horvitz told us he got the idea after telling a sick friend, Mylinh Nguyen, to try sticking her head in a freezer.
Now, a search for the number pulls up pages of strangers poking their faces into freezers. Not to cool down, or find the vodka, or clean the freezer burn crust off the bag of really old peas–but for no reason at all.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries