Wave: Seeing Sleep
1951, Eugene Aserinsky was a graduate student at the University
of Chicago. Late one night in his lab, he attached a brain-wave
machine to his 8-year-old son and waited for him to fall
asleep. Monitoring from an adjacent room, Aserinsky noticed
that the machine tracking his son’s eye movements indicated
that the boy was awake and looking around, but when he went
to check on him he found him fast asleep. So began the discovery
of REM, the stage of sleep categorized by rapid eye movements,
when brain waves increase to levels experienced when a person
Sleep researchers have learned much about the stages of
sleep since Aserinsky and his advisor Nathaniel Kleitman
first published their study in 1953, but many mysteries
remain. Named for the delta waves that the brain exhibits
during deep sleep, Slow Wave: Seeing Sleep is a multidisciplinary
event that will present installations, films, music, and
workshops on the topic of sleep this weekend at RPI’s Empac.
The exhibition component of the event comprises work by
seven different artists that can be found in various locations
throughout Empac. In the lobby will be two sculptures by
Jennifer Hall called Epileptiforms: 5 REM. The pieces,
one in resin and one in sliver, are 3-D renderings of her
seizure activity during REM.
In a room off the lobby will be a video by Rodney Graham
called Halcion Sleep. In this piece, the artist,
who has taken the sleep aid and sedative Halcion, tries
to relive the pleasant feeling of falling asleep in the
back of the car as a child.
On the mezzanine will be a commissioned video work by the
psychiatrist J. Allan Hobson called Hidden Landscapes,
The Time-Lapse Sleep photography of Ted Spagna. It was
through Spagna’s photographs that Hobson noticed a correlation
between body positions and the stages of sleep.
Also on the mezzanine will be Fernando Orellana’s and Brendan
Burns’s Sleep Waking, a small robot that acts out
brainwave activity recorded during REM.
On the fourth floor will be Ana Rewakowicz’s A Modern
Day Nomad Who Moves as She Pleases. This piece is a
“sleeping bag dress cylinder” in which people can enter
and watch a video showing interviews with people who have
actually spent the night in it.
Projected outside of Studio 2 will be Pierre Huyghe’s Sleeptalking
which is a response to Andy Warhol’s legendary 1963 film
Sleep. In Huyghe’s piece, the poet John Giorno, who
is the subject of the Warhol film, reminisces about the
Warhol’s Sleep is also part of the exhibition, but
it will not be shown until 10:30 PM on Saturday night, when
a sleepover will get underway in Studio 2. The sleepover
is open to anyone, but you have to sign up in advance as
space is limited. You can reserve a space by e-mailing John
Cook at email@example.com. Those who will not be sleeping over
can stay until midnight.
Other events on Saturday include lullabies played simultaneously,
a workshop on polysomnography, Alvin Lucier’s Music for
Solo Performer, and a screening of Richard Linklater’s
Given the dynamic nature of this event, it’s unlikely that
it will be a snoozer.
Slow Wave: Seeing Sleep is a three-day festival on the art
and science of sleep at the Experimental Media and Performing
Arts Center (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy). It
starts tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 25) with the official opening
from 5 to 7 PM, which is free. It continues Saturday (Sept.
26) from noon to midnight; admission is $15 for the general
public, $10 for RPI faculty and staff, and $5 for seniors
and students. It concludes Sunday (Sept. 27) from 11 AM
to 2 PM. For more info, call 276-4135; for a complete schedule,
Brooklyn indie maestros Grizzly Bear have become something
of a hipster punchline. But not in a Grizzly-Bear-sucks
sort of way. Far from it. It’s more like a latfh.com, his-glasses-are-so-big-and-his-pants-are-so-tight-he-must-listen-to-Grizzly
Bear sort of thing.
Which, in a way, is kind of endearing. After all, the band’s
spring release Veckatimest has been called the coolest
thing since the mesh tanktop by everyone from Pitchfork
to Jay-Z. And rightfully so. Full of lush harmonies and
ornate orchestration, the disc delivers on the band’s promise
of baroque ‘n roll, dating back to their 2006 breakout Yellow
House that got everyone talking about how cool it was
that rock bands sounded like the Beach Boys again. It’s
the kind of work that makes critics expound about the art
of the album in the iTunes era, and inspires fans to create
beautiful unsolicited music videos for the sheer love.
Here’s betting there will be plenty of big glasses, tight
jeans and mesh tanktops tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 25) at 8
PM when Grizzly Bear roll into the Skidmore College Sports
and Recreation Center (Saratoga Springs) with Gang Gang
Dance in tow. Tickets are $20. Call (800) 838-3006 for more