From an artist’s attempt to tame troubled sleep with AI, to sounds and objects as artifacts of other people’s dream, to a radio station that transforms the dread of insomnia into curiosity and collective listening, the exhibition InSomnolence by the research collective The Sociability of Sleep asks: how does sleep bring us together?
Lack of sleep is often treated as an individual, isolating problem instead of one that requires social attention and care. Amidst endless tools and advice, from sleep apps to sleep hygiene experts, people are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to troubled rest.
Exploring the social aspects that impact sleep, InSomnolence is an interactive exhibition on until July 13 in Montreal put together by local and international artists collaborating with researchers across four Montreal universities.
“The exhibit examines the everyday experiences of sleep, from the rhythms of productivity and rest, to fatigue and the medicalization of sleep, and even the individual experiences of dreams,” says McGill University Professor Alanna Thain, who co-led the project with Université de Montréal Professor Aleksandra Kaminska. In some installations, visitors are invited to get cozy and dose off in dreamlike spaces to “experiment with the edges of sleep.”
“Over the past two years, we have been developing unique and experimental sleep situations through art and research experiments. These installations combine tools and insights from the arts, humanities, and sciences that can enrich our understanding of sleep and the treatment of sleep conditions. They also showcase how sleep is much more social than it might seem –through media installations, performances, sound, and design—inviting the public to take their nightly habits of sleep into unexpected situations.