Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life

‘.... for each sleep is the true practice of hope, a long training at emancipation and freedom’ - El Wardany, H. (2017) Book of Sleep. Cairo, Egypt: Al-Karma Books.

Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life curated by Ruth Noack, takes a close look at contemporary politics of sleep and asks whether we can reclaim sleep and dreaming from the clutches of late capitalism. In Jonathan Crary’s book ‘24/7: Terminal Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep ‘, 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 walks 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 and gaining momentum over the next couple of years.

The series was opened with 21 artists at Yellow Brick, Athens, in July 2018. The exhibition at lítost will host 29 positions, before continuing on to the Institute for Provocation, Beijing in October 2018.


This exhibition has been kindly supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Prague, GESTOR ochranný svaz autorský and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen - IFA.