Sleepers. Hole (2013)
A series of 20 found, punctured, 35 mm slides (each individually dated),
Printed as C-type
17.8cm x 25.4cm
The series of photographs which comprise Sleepers. Hole are part of Adam Chodzko’s installation Room for Laarni, Image Moderator (2013) which collectively explores the experience of being psychologically overwhelmed by the process of relentlessly viewing imagery flowing between communities. Chodzko researches this through trying to empathise with the character of Laarni, a remote image moderator for a social media site. Sleepers. Hole becomes one of the categories of image that Chodzko imagines Laarni is filtering into a group, a folder, on her computer screen (along with the other works in the exhibition, but particularly Too, Sleepers. Hole’s companion collection). In this group the community of the slumbering alludes to Laarni’s own fatigue through constantly looking.
Since 2007 Chodzko has been collecting individual 35mm photographic slide images taken by amateurs, of people sleeping, to have currently amassed over 100 of these images, shot all around the world, from 1950’s to late 1980’s, from babies to the elderly. People sleeping on buses, aeroplanes, beds, boats, sofas, on blankets in the open air, during military conflict (the Vietnam war) and out, in public, homeless, on the streets. Accumulatively, by bringing these images together it suggests a kind of collective narcolepsy, a pandemic unconsciousness, a mass sleep or mass dreaming from a fairy tale, or perhaps this goes further than sleep? is this perhaps evidence of death, the end of everything? Chodzko is interested in the relationship between the material flatness of the 35mm film, that was there in a camera, in a room, at the time; a presence in relation to another presence, that of a sleeping person. He relates this attempt to empathise with a sleeping person to an attempt to empathise with the invisible photographic documenter of their subject. The sleepers’ ‘withdrawal’ into another world, of dreams, also activates and destabilises our ability to empathise. The stillness and silence of a sleeping person, and a still photograph, creates a vacuum for the viewer, provoking a consciousness of other senses, sound, smell, and touch. But there is a form of excessive touch: Holes pierce the thin flat membrane of 35mm film, pouring in light (an apparently perpetual light of constant day ) – time to wake up? Or perhaps it is a form of infinite moonlight, to stay asleep.
In 2016 Chodzko used a number of images from the wider collection of Sleepers to make the moving image work Sleepers.
The ideas of sleep, insomnia, exhaustion, the nocturnal and dreaming have regularly appeared in Chodzko’s practice (eg: Ghost, Echo, Night Shift, The Pickers and Flasher), a fascination partly stemming from a series of sleep disorders experienced throughout his childhood, from insomnia to frequent sleep paralysis, night terrors, false awakenings and hallucinations. The form of the hole appear in many of Chodzko’s works including Hole (in the wall of a museum), Somewhere Else, In Order to Complete Them (geothermal holes in the earth), Around and cell-a (in the ground, revealing or concealing archives) and in Secretors (in gallery walls, seeping fluid).
Room for Laarni, Image Moderator catalogue
Conversation between Jennifer Higgie, Andrew Renton, Adam Chodzko
Editor Andrew Renton. Published November, 2013
Download pdf of catalogue