Solveig Settemsdal and Andrew Sunderland
29th of August to 25th of October 2020
Zeitgeber is external phenomena that inhabits and activates the synchronized cycles of the Earth, enabling our circadian rhythms to align with the cycles of the solar system. Part of this rhythm is the time assigned for sleep; an uncommodifiable unit of time, sleep is a disruption to the never-ending cycles of lived contemporary capitalism. As a space that was protected from the bombardments of advertising and vicious work cycles, sleep has now begun to be recorded into technological production through the use of products such as Fitbits and other sleep tracking devices. Sleep however, might offer the potential for non work, an escape from the capitalist construct of time. Do we sleep so we can work? or do we sleep as an escape from work? Sleep links us to the speed of the body, a speed increasingly deformed by capitalism. Does sleep have radical latent potential for non work? Might it give form to new, imaginative, psychedelic worlds? Or, is sleep destined to be exploited by capitalism, our subconscious it's final conquest?
Breathe…….Breathe…….Breathe……. Reduce your breathing down to the slowest rate, time to hibernate, or slip into a coma. Inhabit that unproductive state, the useless state until you wake, a death driven feedback loop until the end. Burn the candle at both ends, exhaust yourself, the candle that you burn has always been a symbol of the passing of anthropic time, cycles of life and death, the transient nature of reality. But synthetic candles burn no more, it's just on all the time, but it's time to blow the candle out, this body needs to sleep.
Bodies of liquid, bodies of flesh, bodies of atoms forever agitating themselves in perpetual contact with the outside. Bodies are stretched over time, over frameworks in which manifest their shape, an underlying system that is exposed to manipulation and deformations. Bodies act as filters to the world until they are spent, as the husks of these bodies lay in stasis, waiting eternally to be reawoken. There are primitive organisms of the world that do not sleep, they just keep going, but ultimately the biological and technological are constructed of the same spirit, the shutdown must always occur. A new speculative energy consumption creates space away from the reach of techno-capitalist production, but the true rest is for the ghosts already sleeping.
Anthropic time is just an illusion that is formed through our own constructs, space-time is the skin stretched over the celestial bones of (dark) matter with an ethereal plasticity. Plastic manifests itself through industrialised exploitation of the Earth’s planetary time, an entity that transcends all constructs of anthropic time, an alien materiality. As we slip in and out of this altered state we lose consciousness, or maybe it is just a loose consciousness, the zeitgeber falls out of sync as solipsist worlds form within a dreamscape. The brain’s vortex swirls with a fluidity of psychotropic states, forging images and narrative with weird influence, stretching sound and image, data and bodies across time.
There is a desire to evade sleep with synthetic stimulants, the first inclinations of an augmented posthuman condition echoing throughout human history. Now, the glowing light of screens keeps us up all night, delaying the release of sleep-inducing melatonin as the machines keep going, perpetually stimulating our bodies. The electricized connections to our muscles jolt us into an upright position as nonhuman patterns infect our hybridised reality. We may try to sleep less, either in non linear ways, or by evading it altogether, but no matter how hard we try, our bodies cannot evade their circadian rhythms.
This exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.