Artists: Julia Gryboś and Barbora Zentková
Title: What is happening with sleep today?
Curator: Lýdia Pribišová
Venue: AlbumArte, Roma, Italy 7.11.2019 – 7.12.2019
Photo: Roberto Apa, Sebastiano Luciano
The exhibition places sleep and its possible, but at the same time impossible commercial use in today’s society at the center of its reflection. It takes inspiration from the text of the art historian and essayist Jonathan Crary 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, against the dehumanizing conditions dictated by neoliberalism and non-stop productivity which leads to a life without pauses and a sort of a “global slumber”. A condition that is redesigning the notion of temporality, outlining new and extremely dangerous strategies for the surveillance of individual subjectivities which undermine the possibility of individual political expressions and dissent.
The artistic duo Julia Gryboś e Barbora Zentková creates a completely site-specific environment entitled The Shallow Sleep of Emergency Mode II which is also a sound installation. With their work, the artists face the most tangible and sensorial aspect that surrounds the culture of sleep, inserting in the space metallic and fabric elements – reminiscent of the bed – and an immersive meditative sound at low frequencies that invites to rest but, at the same time, it also evokes the feeling of anxiety that accompanies insomnia and that is the side effect of accelerating our rhythm of life. The fragmentation of the installation reflects the increasingly gradual breakdown of sleeping in today’s life and questions itself – as do the works of Martin Kohout and Ben Landau – whether sleep is the last bastion of human activity not subject to external monitoring. The film Slides by Martin Kohout is part of an ongoing research project about problems determinating nocturnal work, different steps of sleep, its alterations, the daily and more and more use of new technologies, our reactions both sensorial or mental to try to cohabit with this future that is already around us. Ben Landau presents the multimedia installation Sleeper Cells, an experimental project that investigates the incidence of sleep in contemporary society sleeping and the subsequent dreaming open a connection with the unconscious now neglected by our hyper-real world, placing itself as a last bastion of freedom from the incessant pace of work. Sleeper Cells analyzes different situations where people shy away from the dimension of the conscious, preferring to explore the unknown worlds of their mind.