Sleep Disorders [2010-2012]
Image credit: Vahri McKenzie and Hellen Russo, Fool Asleep, in Fringe World Festival 2012. Perth, Australia: The Treasury, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Carrie Goldberg.
Fool Asleep is a one-act play that used spoken text, original video and dance (choreographed by co-creator Hellen Russo) to present the complex relationship between a subject of a sleeping disorder and an examining sleep scientist, within a narrative frame. I wrote and performed the original script based on lay and scientific sleep science texts, which reframed scientific discourse and so questioned the assumptions that have rapidly created a new medical speciality. The work was performed at Fringe World Festival 2012, Perth, Australia: The Treasury; and for Strutathon, Fringe World Festival 2012, Perth, Australia: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.
For the body of work collected as Design, Form, Light, Movement, with dancer Hellen Russo I created site-specific work focusing on the role of lighting design in dance. Our work asks, what is the connection between urban light and the surveillance gaze; how can work illustrate the invasiveness of surveillance technologies on the urban subject; how can urban lighting conditions affect the performance outcome? The ubiquity of CCTV in public spaces demands a compliance of individuals that reflects the relationship between subject and scientist.
Image credit: Vahri McKenzie and Hellen Russo (2011). City Sleepers (video still). Helen Herbertson & Ben Cobham Co/Lab. Perth, Australia: King Street Arts Centre.
McKenzie, Vahri and Russo, Hellen (2011). City Sleepers.
McKenzie, Vahri and Russo, Hellen (2011). CCTV Sleepers.
Sleep Disorders enacted invented sleep pathologies, using performance art to explore scientific incursions that problematise a ‘natural’ state, and to interrogate tensions between sleep science and art. I made the work for Lisa Carrie Goldberg’s installation Perth Institute of Sleep Behaviour (2010) that recreated a sleep laboratory; Goldberg invited me to become a ‘subject’ in her lab and to respond with an original work after immersion in her process. I spent long periods of time within the installation, read medical literature and viewed authentic surveillance footage; surveillance of sleeping subjects is fundamental to sleep science. My performance within the installation was videoed in low resolution and posted on the internet, suggesting a troubling equivalence between genuine surveillance footage of sleep science subjects and work that ‘passes’ as such.
Image credit: Vahri McKenzie (2010). Sleep Disorders (video still). Lisa Carrie Goldberg’s Perth Institute of Sleep Behaviour. Perth, Australia: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.
McKenzie, Vahri (2010). Sleep Disorders: Nocturnal Wall Crawling and Rhythmic Somnographia.
This project was supported by:
- Helen Herbertson and Ben Cobham’s Co/Lab, in partnership with Artrage, documented by Strutdance (2011).
- Lisa Carrie Goldberg’s installation Perth Institute of Sleep Behaviour, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA, 2010).
- Lisa Carrie Goldberg’s MA in Biological Arts at SymbioticA, University of Western Australia (2010).