Sleep Forum

Sleep Forum

SLEEP Forum an Exhibition + Affiliated Events


TEST BED no. 2, a Modern ABATON

Aronson Gallery, Parsons New School University, 66 5th Avenue, NYC

February 17 – March 10, 2018

SLEEP is the state between consciousness and unconsciousness, it occupies neither condition but exists somewhere in the boundary between.

SLEEP is a biological necessity that involves the voluntary and involuntary body.

SLEEP is universal, yet it is specific to place and culture. It is personal and private, yet impersonal and determined by and regulated by time. *

Spaces of sleep and repose are an intrinsic part of architecture yet, have long been neglected as a means for studying the phenomenon of sleep. Foregrounding human sleep as a primary point of focus and positing the passive slumbering body as a site for new spatial paradigms SLEEP Forum brings the exhibition, TEST BED no.2, a Modern ABATON, together with a series of affiliated Events.

Sleep Forum transforms the Aronson Gallery into a modern ABATON – a space originally dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, and devoted to collective therapeutic sleep and prophetic dreaming within the sanctuaries and temples of the ancient Greeks. Fusing the physical and mental, the ritualistic with the theatrical, the ancient Asclepieia also served as medicinal centers whose system of therapeutics and religious rituals revolved around the practice of dream incubation. A key artifact of the ancient Abaton was the KLINE, or temple bed, that was meant to foster dreaming. Our reinterpretation of the ancient Abaton, organized around a series of broad themes affiliated with sleep such as sound, light, smell, movement, temperature, and time, will be used as an interactive and performative site to engage a range of found and designed artifacts to induce sleep-related states of experience.

SLEEP Forum Exhibition: TEST BED no.2, a Modern ABATON intends to involve gallery visitors in two ways: (1) the everyday and the event and (2) the therapeutic and the theatrical. When not being deployed for an event, gallery visitors are invited to engage in self-directed repose and can recline, nap, or daydream utilizing “soft tools” – cushions, pillows, head rests, etc. – hung on the walls and scattered on the felted gallery floor – an updating of the ancient KLINE, for collective dream incubation.

The exhibition extends along the public corridor with student work exploring sleep through diverse media and modes of representation – juxtaposing flatwork with three-dimensional objects at various scales and materials. Included in this portion of the exhibition will be analytical models of historical spaces designed for singular and collective sleep, a set of experimental pillows as well as architectural proposals for prospective space of sleep culled from our forthcoming book, Test Bed no. 1, the architectures of sleep.



Pillow Talks, Happenings/ Performances, Lecture, Films & Projections

activate and extend the everyday experience of the Exhibition Test Bed no. 2, A Modern Abaton. Three prospective Happenings/ Performances are: (1) a “dream in” led by a sleep psychologist, (2) a choreographed performance composed by a scent and a sound artist for a “slumber induction,”  (3) a “layabout” led by a cultural anthropologist/folklorist, (4) a “sleep tech” show and tell.

In addition to the performances are PILLOW TALKS, a series of directed dialogues having a thematic structure that will pair figures from a variety of disciplines. Among these thematic subjects are: the Scientific and Technological Spaces of Sleep dialogue will discuss past as well future sleep environments with a sleep scientist and a cultural historian. An herbalist and a chef will conduct The Botany of Sleep dialogue, as well as, a food tasting as a means to consider nature’s pharmacological sleep and dream-producing elixirs. The Light and Sound of Sleep dialogue pairs a product and sound designer to probe the changing natural and artificial environment in relation to the biology of the sleeping subject.

As in ancient Greece, where processions (Pompe) of people and artifacts were a vital part of Greek ritual and festival cycles, Sleep Forum will mark its closing with a final event: a Pillow Procession and Sleep Fashion Show. The “runway” will start in the Aronson Gallery, travel along the connective corridor and ramp, and terminate in the 2 West 13th Street lobby. Models clothed in Sleepwear fashions will carry the exhibited soft artifacts/pillows out of the Aronson Gallery, bringing SLEEP Forum to a close.