Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reading: "Counting Sheep", Paul Martin 2002

Yet another reading to help me discover the aspects of sleep that I may want to explore linking to my Imprints....

(Quotes I like...)

"...lack of sleep erodes our quality of life and performance while simultaneously making us more vulnerable to injuries and illness." pg. 4

"The mere presence of an alarm clock implies sleep deprivation, what a bedroom lacks an alarm clock?", James Gleick, "Faster" 1999.

"The mythical inhabitants of Sir Thomas More's idyllic island state of Utopia accorded sleep the priority it truly deserves. They slept for 8 solid hours each night. Of the remaining 16 hours, work accounted for only 6. The Utopians worked for 3 hours before noon then ate lunch, after lunch they rested for 2 hours, worked another 3 and then ate supper. They went to bed at about 8 in the evening and slept for 8 hours. The rest of each day they did as they pleased." pg. 22

"Marketers and technologists anticipate your desires with fast ovens, quick playback, quick freezing and fast credit. We bank the extra minutes that flow from these innovations, yet we feel impoverished and we cut back - on breakfast, on lunch, on sleep, on daydreams." James Gleick, pg. 27

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hard-hitting journalism....

A small snippet from MX brought to light a topic also discussed in my reading about the possibility of learning during sleep. Learning is a bit of a tease as the only factual evidence points to consolidation or stabilisation for the memory before falling asleep.
I doubt this pillow could actually help further learning as key brain receptors are not in working mode during sleep and this is probably just a case of retaining the information first heard.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When I'm sleeping....

This video was taken to help discover my sleeping patterns and to perhaps even pin-point times that I dream. Unfortunately, the footage is pretty dull with the discovery that I am quite the sound sleeper and the only points of interest are when I roll over. However, when watching the footage back of the first roll over it triggered the memory of me needing to roll to be more comfortable which is an interesting point. My pre-bed behavior is also quite routine, by dissecting the footage it can be said that my habits include entering and exiting my bed always from the same side and also that I "swaddle" myself for warmth and comfort as discussed in the baby picture below. The video, although not as insightful as hoped, has led me to put further thought and emphasis into the "Bed Design" experiments that will enlighten me into the materials and characteristics that will leave imprints and hopefully lead me to a physical and even fashion outcome or concept.

Reading: "Sleeping and Dreaming" - Pictures

"Swaddled Baby", Ron Mueck, 2002, pg. 133
I particularly like this image because I was swaddled as a baby and as a result I now have sleep behavior where i need to have my doona, no matter what weather, and position it to go over my shoulders and ear but under my chin with only my head poking out. I guess this is me trying to replicate being swaddled.

Still from "Un Chein Andalon", Luis Brunel and Salvador Dali, 1929, pg. 13
I first saw this Surrealist film at last winter's Dali exhibition at the NGV International to which my initial reaction was of confusion. When researching further, Surrealism's link to the mind and dreams was one that seemed to help the work make more sense. The Paranoic Critical method used by the Surrealists is one that can only be percieved by the mind and is in a way like a dream, by reinterpreting the already known but in illogical ways.

"Representation of the Sleeping Brain", Rene Descarte, 1664, pg. 23
This woodcut of a mechanical study of the brain denotes areas that are said to switch on or off during sleep. It shows the nerves and how they no longer react to the outside world during sleep, "Therefore man can neither feel any sensations nor move his extremities."

"The Dream Recorder", Science and Invention cover #5, September 1926, pg. 37
This illustration depicts the desire of the time to be able to record dreams by means of measuring heartbeats and breathing accelerations. Today sleep centers still use similar methods along with video evidence.

"Auf Zeit", Raffael Rheinsberg, 1995, pg. 74
This brass and steel installation of clockworks components relating to the human condition around time. "From afar it resembles a sparkling, endless cosmos. Close to it suggests the impossibility of grasping or measuring time."

Reading: "Sleeping and Dreaming", Nadine Kothe Monem

This book was an excellent find with the very helpful combination of scientific research, related art works and famous quotes....all about sleeping and dreaming!

Here are some parts that I found to be most interesting and thought provoking:

"Sleep is better than medicine" - English proverb

"...enigmatically the dark side of human existence" - pg.19
"Dead to the world"
"Sleep and death both give us a sense of helplessness, a lack of control"
"People sleep and dream whether they want to or not" - Diderot
"...the arbitrary power of the dream, it's foreign logic and it's specific mechanisms"
"Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, and yet a third of life is passed in sleep" - Lord Byron

"...Freud: dream interpretation, the road "to the knowledge of the unconscious in mental life"
(Dream research combined with trauma research)..."severe lesions suffered by the mind that permanently hinder therapeutic intervention."(Traumatic experiences can produce nightmares and damage behavior by leaving traces on the brain)

"(In dreams)...our braiin turns itself inside out, switches of logical and "civilised" parts" - Mark Solms

"...sleep is a highly active state accompanied by different physiological reactions"
(The previous theory of dreams only occurring during R.E.M cycles has been disproved)..."redeemed the reputation of sleep, finding that learning while sleeping is possible"

"Dreams are my psychological digestive system" - Igor Stravinsky

"...underlying biological rhythms" (sleep and the whole human psyche is based around time and our internal clocks
(1980's studies: daylight identified as the most important internal timer, brightness brings circadian (sleep) rhythms into alignment with the rhythm of day and night.

" modern society is coping in a "world without sleep"
"...sleep plays a fundamental role in the process of memory formation...the stabilisation of already-existing memory content...consolidation"

"It is common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it" - John Steinbeck

"Chief nurisher in life's feast" - Shakespeare, from "Macbeth", Act II, Scene ii

"If dreaming is the activity of inner psychic reality, the reflection of our conscious and unconscious experiences, then sleep is an escape that protects us from the insistent demands of our everyday life. It offers us the possibility to curl up in a fetal position under the protective shield of sleep, pull the blanket up over our heads and abandon ourselves to the illusion of primary experience." - pg, 90

"Dreams contradict what is real and true, but at the same time, they are the duplicate of this logical realm." - pg. 122

"That every night in Max's room a forest grew and grew-
and grew until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around
and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max
and he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are" - Maurice Sendak, from "Where the Wild Things Are"

Sleep Art

As recommend by Adele....

The last image by Chu Yun is similar to the footage I took of myself sleeping, minus the sleeping pills.

"If you like sleeping and like art then the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York is looking for you. You also have to be female, be between the ages of 18 and 40, and be prepared to take a sleeping pill before your performance."

And in a related blog, people commented on how the work didn't seem authentic or should be considered art, which I guess to some extent most art is questionable. One of the more intelligent comments states.....

"With regard to the artwork, I think it is hard to pass judgement about this piece as the image provided is a photographic documentation of a performance installation. A performance is a performance because someone performs to an audience. An installation is a work that is site-specific and interactive. A photograph cannot give a true representation of this and one can only assume their reaction to the real life version.

However, I am particularly fond of the concept. I will disagree with Earl in saying that Chu Yun has simply recreated the work of Tracey Emin. I think that this is a hugely narrow-minded thing to say, simply because both artists have used a bed. The main difference is that Chu Yun's piece is a performance as well as an installation. Emin's piece titled "My Bed" 1998 can be seen as a self portrait. She has displayed her bed as an installation and surrounding it are empty alchohol bottles, condoms, towels, hosiery. It was a statement about her insecurities and portrayed a really personal insight to her life. The work of Chu Yun is almost certainly not a self portrait. For a start, the people that are sleeping are people that she has invited to be the art. Secondly, the sheets are white, the bed is white, the pillows are white. The bed is a blank canvas, the people are the paint.

I find the work enticing. I can only hope that I have the opportunity to see it in person one day. The voyeuristic "peeping Tom" feeling, I can imagine, would feel very different to just looking at the images. How would you feel if someone was watching you sleep? Sleep is a very personal but also essential part of life. I think Chu Yun's work makes a big statement about the quotidian routine. People sleep around us all the time but we pay little attention to it."
# posted by Emma Phillips : 1:23 PM

Emma's comments opened up a new train of thought for me with " the people are the paint" and our entrancement with voyeurism. The bed is a blank canvas but I think it has to be in order for us to full reach a restful state. Maybe I could experiment by sleeping in my normal "blank" bed and in Superman sheets the next, maybe his chiseled jaw, super cool cape and his famous underwear wearing technique will prove all too distracting to sleep??

"People as the paint" is an interesting idea that rings true in Tracey Emin's pieces, with her ability to put herself into the work by leaving evidence of her lifestyle and thoughts behind to give another voyeuristic view into someone's life. Viewing her work is like being a detective and trying to figure out what came before the scene and why.

"A consummate storyteller, Tracey Emin engages the viewer with her candid exploration of universal emotions. Well-known for her confessional art, Tracey Emin reveals intimate details from her life to engage the viewer with her expressions of universal emotions. Her ability to integrate her work and personal life enables Emin to establish an intimacy with the viewer.
Tracey shows us her own bed, in all its embarrassing glory. Empty booze bottles, fag butts, stained sheets, worn panties: the bloody aftermath of a nervous breakdown. By presenting her bed as art, Tracey Emin shares her most personal space, revealing she’s as insecure and imperfect as the rest of the world."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Research Proposal

The Shadow Studio project that I propose is primarily about the relationship between sensation and imprint through sleeping patterns and the exploration into if they can be induced or replicated.

The key words involved in my proposed research into the Shadow Studio are Sensation, Imprint, Psychology and Behaviour.
These words stem from my explorations into different materials and sleeping patterns.

The idea of sleep and its behavioural patterns concerned me with its links to subconscious feeling.
Subconscious feeling was initially discussed as a question of dress, “Do you have to be clothed to feel dressed?”, and with regards to sleep the example of the sensation of falling whilst in a dream state.
I plan to research sleep behavioural patterns by looking closer into sleep psychology and possibly even my own sleeping patterns on a scientific level. This will include studying text on the subject as well as approaching professional institutions like sleep apnoea clinics.
There have also been some sleep myths that have arisen during my research so far and I plan to do a MythBusters inspired experiment with regards to my own thoughts and feelings.

This theme of sleep was also encountered during the discovery of imprints from clothing I slept in leaving marks and indentation that also created small intricate shadows.
The documentation of such Sleep Tattoos will be the bulk of my initial exploration into mark making on the skin in a subconscious state.
To further this exploration I plan to discover how different materials affect the skin, the permanency of such markings and possibly the affects on different skin types.
These experiments will be achieved by designating a different material to sleep in for each night of a week, which may also include unconventional types of clothing to sleep in such as occasional wear, ie. Formal wear and Swim wear.
Bed design is another experiment that may also heighten the outcomes by covering a larger surface area with selected materials and then documenting the varied effects on the skin as opposed to just clothing.

There are also research questions I plan to answer through these experiments, which include;
“Can subconscious feelings or sensations be replicated or reproduced?”

“Can skin imprints, or Skin Tattoos, give the illusion of clothing?”

“Can brain functions, or behaviours, be induced rather than a random occurrence?”

The possible outcomes from these experiments and research could range from an imprinting device designed especially to replicate clothing on the skin to a garment that physically maps the Sleep Tattoos that I have documented. These outcomes will depend on the success of my experiments and the logicality of whether to take the discoveries more literal or leave them in an exploratory realm.

Fashion and art are never mutually exclusive and so the discovery of artists doing similar sleep themed works may help me to understand others thoughts on the subject and also their creative output.
Imogen Cunningham is a photographer that documented The Unmade Bed in 1957. Her view is an angle I have already explored in photographing my bed linens after discovering Sleep Tattoos on my body and where they may have come from. Looking into this series and the meaning behind it may also open up some insights into how others perceive the ritual of sleep and express it creatively.

Timeline – Research Plan

Week 8:
Wear different materials and clothes to bed and document the outcomes

Look into texts on sleep psychology and note important findings and quotes.

Week 9:
Start the Bed Design phase of experimentation and document findings and compare to previous clothing experiments.

Contact sleep apnoea clinic and other specialists to discover common sleeping disorders and patterns and how they can affect behaviours.

Week 10:
Host a sleepover with friends, which includes the wearing of certain materials to discover the effects on a variety of skin types.
Document through photography, film and a possible survey relating to the quality of sleep.

Week 11:
Compile all experiment outcomes and compare similarities or differences to determine if a final outcome will be literal or otherwise.
(Example; if imprints are common in certain areas of the body a garment may be designed to enhance those intricate lines...)

Week 12:
Develop a design language based on all previous research.
This includes key shapes, detailing and materials.

Put this into a prototype form and document how the body reacts to the outcome.

Week 13:
Refine outcome…
More prototypes leading to a final.

Week 14:
Further refine or complete outcome.

Document all processes.

Week 15:
Use final outcome to determine other purposes or functions and the relation to the original concepts.
(Discover the success of my experiment and research)

Compile and finish folio.
Complie a professional printed outcome to be used during assessment.

Week 16:
Continue with assessment materials and outcomes.

Week 17: