Perfect Sleep

Tega Brain (AU) and Sam Lavigne (US)

Curatorial Context

Ever thought of ‘sleep’ as a means of climate engineering? The visitor is invited to lie down and listen to the perspectives of writers, scientists, academics and activists on sleep. The installation Sleep Study includes custom daybeds accompanied by prints that illustrate correlations between sleep and CO2 emissions, GDP, mental health and more. The Perfect Sleep App is available to download and experience anywhere:

Artwork Statement

Perfect Sleep explores the degree to which lack of sleep and global warming are products of the same extractivist economic system, where regeneration, rest and natural limits are devalued. The project comprises a smartphone app and an installation. The Perfect Sleep App enables users to gradually increase their sleep time over three years, aiming to achieve a state of ‘total sleep’.

Dream incubation texts by Simone Browne, Johanna Hedva, Holly Jean Buck and Sophie Lewis guide users in envisioning an alternative world during sleep. Composer Luisa Pereira has transformed these texts into dreamscapes. Sleep Study offers custom daybeds on which to experience dreamscapes. The design is inspired by the deck chairs of Thomas Mann's novel, The Magic Mountain, as well as Silicon Valley sleep pods.

The work also includes an attempt to model climate effects of the user’s changing sleep routine, drawing on research that suggests a correlation between average sleep time, GDP and CO2emissions. Emission reduction scenarios are presented in relation to different sleep schedules.

Artist Bios

Tega Brain (AU) is an Australian-born artist and environmental engineer known for her work on issues concerning ecology, data systems and infrastructure. She has created wireless networks controlled by environmental phenomena, systems for obfuscating personal data, and a smell-based dating service. Tega is Industry Associate Professor of Integrated Design and Media at New York University, and co-authored her first book, Code as Creative Medium, with Golan Levin.

Sam Lavigne (US) is an artist and educator whose work revolves around themes such as data, surveillance, law enforcement, natural language processing and automation. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at UT Austin. Sam also creates and contributes to open-source software projects for the arts. Previously, he was the Special Projects editor at the New Inquiry magazine.

Artwork Credits & Acknowledgement

  • Artists: Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne
  • Dream Incubation texts by Simone Browne, Johanna Hedva, Holly Jean Buck and Sophie Lewis. Sound composed by Luisa Pereira. Furniture designed with Jordana Maisie Design Studio.
  • Commissioned by the Museum Sinclair-Haus, Stiftung Kunst und Natur, Bad Homburg.