Date: 12.09.2017 — 08.10.2017
During sleep, a lot of different activities happen in our seemingly inactive body. First of all, the activity of neurons in the brain, which send and receive electrical signals in the wakeful state, is greatly reduced. While asleep, one begins to respire regularly, slows his or hers pulse and the muscles become relaxed. The sleeper slowly falls into a deep sleep, followed by a so-called REM phase, during which the brain activity increases, the eyes move frantical-ly under the eyelids, oxygen consumption increases, and dreams begin to penetrate the sleep.
The body´s muscles rest, as the hours run through the night, but the brain works intensely. It processes the stimuli of the day, sorts memories and co-produces colorful dreams. The sleeping person is relieved of the tension of the day, during which nonstop activity and continuous connection, accessibil-ity and flexibility are required. Thus, a night’s rest might seem to be the last phase during which we are guaranteed to be offline.
But if we took into account the work of the brain with the information acquired during the day when it worked during everyday online activities, it seems that – once obtained – stimuli live their own lives during our sleep. Nevertheless, the products of this activity are not yet directly applicable on a mass scale, so it is possible to speak of a certain autonomous sphere that cannot be easily calculated and exploited.
Artists Julia Gryboś and Barbora Zentková are very much in touch with these questions while they prepare their exhibition. It is loosely based on a book by Jonathan Crary – 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (2013). Is sleep the last autonomous human activity not subjected to external monitor-ing? Is it still an activity that cannot be localized, supervised, and stored in a database in the form of endless rows of data that could be used and trans-formed into, say, a targeted advertisement?
However, the installation in the concept of authors is more about the physical that surrounds the culture of sleep. There are fragments of bedroom furnish-ings in it. There are ornamented neural networks engraved into the wood. Au-thors use materials as building elements and put them into constellations that evoke sleep through individual associations rather than re-evaluate it through a detailed cultural and social analysis.
Working with materials belonging to a particular semantically burdened place or context and their transfer to the gallery space does not appear for the first time in their work. The coherence of material game or painting with sound is also their characteristic feature. So-called binaural sound waves ring through the etc. gallery space; the artists choose the relaxing and self-hypnotic ones out of the possible variants.
The minimal environment in which the monotonous music vibrates does not inspire us to rest, but rather to think about what has happened with sleep to-day. The fragmentation of the installation seems to refer to the slow decom-position of this zone – to the beginnings of its forced rationalization and analy-sis. Besides the process of sleep itself, this activity also becomes the theme of sociopolitical discussions. These take place on the battlefield of the eco-nomic system requiring our continued activity. Insomnia is a virtue. Collective fatigue is a sign of progress.
Curators: Alžběta Bačíková and Anna Remešová