The Circle of Sleeplessness

Sound Composition & Visual / 2020
Presented at Transcendence Down, Iklectik ArtLab, London

The Circle of Sleepnessless is an electroacoustic music and visual artwork attempting to give form to the subjective experience of sleeplessness. The artwork features stereo sound and dual-screen projection. By employing the sonic narrating devices, it presents an adventure through the circle of sleeplessness, signifying the negative feedback network of insomnia. It reproduces a nighttime urban soundscape, which communicates real-life experience. Then, it utilises digital sound processing techniques to transfer the soundscape into chaotic, immersive noise, which implies the intense emotion of sleepless individuals. By doing this, the artwork evokes the anxiety of sleeplessness, which poses as a common problem for individuals living in the late capitalist and consumerist world. American art critic and essayist Jonathan Crary mentioned in his book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep "Sleeplessness is the state in which producing, consuming, and discarding occur(s) without pause, hastening the exhaustion of life and the depletion of resources." Also, he argued that sleep poses the idea of a human need and interval of time that cannot be colonised by the massive engine of profitability. Yet, while we are trying to sleep, we are very much disturbed by the noise. When we hear the noisy refrigerator, the next-door neighbour watching porn, and the party music from upper floors, we are conscious of, and thus kept awake by of the constant, endless, passive consumptions. Therefore, The Circle of Sleeplessness highlights the conflict between human nature and non-stop capitalist value machines.

Credits: Yuhong Zhu, Yantsing Koo (creative coding, video)