Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life

Oct 07 - Nov 01, 2018

Institute of Provocation, Beijing, China


‘...For each sleep is the true practice of hope, a long training at emancipation and freedom.’

—Haytham El-Wardany, Book of Sleep, 2017

The exhibition series Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life takes a close look at contemporary politicsof sleep and asks whether we can reclaim sleep and dreaming from the clutches of late capitalism. In the ‘24/7 Universe’ (Jonathan Crary), sleep has been turned into a resource, tied to production, consumption, warfare and biopolitics. We are simultaneously enticed to sleep less and to sleep productively. Contemporary cultural practice mimics this trend with sleep performances, sleep hotels, sleep music.

Can sleep instead be configured as a radical, subversive activity? Can the act of dreaming, sleep’s correlate, be imagined a political deed? If sleep were to obstruct the cycle of capitalist production and social reproduction, would the sleeper be able to dream up a better life, a better future?

Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life brings together artists from all wakes of life and artworks from diverse cultural backgrounds in order to start understanding how we might share agency in a future politics of sleep. Concurrently, the curatorial model of the exhibition series is based on a much needed ecology of scale. Starting with next to no budget and working with the smallest of institutions, the first exhibitions are conceived as sketches to be fleshed out while gaining momentum over the next couple of years.

Ruth Noack, Berlin, December 2017