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Recent Work: Terra Incognita: Mapping The Topograpy of Sleep

Terra Incognita: Mapping The Topography of Sleep

This project is a life-size map of the bed I slept in. This project draws together the fields of art and cartography such that   topographic  and elevation maps were made from measurements ​gathered from the surface of my bed after a night of sleep. I created a grid with threads and straight pins and subsequently, took 2,736 measurements to comprise the raw data that eventually led to a computer rendering ​in ARC GIS, a geographic information system, made by collaborator Christopher Mixon. GIS is the merging of cartography,  statistical analysis, and database technology.


Suspension was made while sleeping in a head-to-foot spandex body suit that is enhanced with compressed charcoal fragments to record body movement. I slept on a 72 X 38 inch piece of Stonehenge paper mounted on plywood. When I awoke, the charcoal had marked my movement while I slept. I document my location while shifting from wakefulness into the unconscious state of sleep.

The body suit is enhanced with hundreds of  compressed charcoal fragments, each approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. The charcoal fragments tracked body movement while I slept.

Verification Series

What is the location of Self during sleep? This series attempts to answer this question. The "Location Verification Series: Pillow Drawings" represents life size graphite drawings on paper (each 25 X 37.5 in.) of a pillow that has yielded to a night of sleep over seven chronological nights. I began each drawing upon awakening and concluded when it was time to sleep again--taking on average approximately 12 hours of drawing for each pillow. This challenging process expanded to include 15 pillow drawings in total. As author, I dissolved into the process thus serving art.  In an attempt to verify location of Self during sleep, I discovered the diminishing of significance of self in the process of making art. 

Bed grid measurements, 2012.

Images above:

I created a grid over the surface of the bed using thread and straight pins. I recorded 2,736 measurements taken at the grid coordinates and transferred them to graph paper. The data was provided to the collaborator for rendering in ARC GIS.

Looking For Elsewhere and Shift

Two drawings, each 38 X 72 inches on paper, 2009 (graphite, and the other ink) created using bed tracings created during 30 day residency.

Day Scraps (after Freud)

This drawing series consists of 30 drawings that depict imagined cognitive patterns and thought processes that occur in the mind and brain during sleep.

Night Tracks

Night Tracks was a project conducted over the 30-day period that I slept in the Illges Gallery at Columbus State University, GA. Behind a temporary wall, I slept on a cot. Each morning, I photographed the bed sheets in an aerial view taken from atop scaffolding that was constructed directly over the bed. Body shifts during sleep formed wrinkles in the bed linens subsequently producing a ‘topographic residue of sleep’. I refer to these traces of movement as night tracks. In this case, “The Topography Of Sleep” is a metaphorical reference for the location of sleep, and itinerant travel through wakefulness and sleep.

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