Life without Dreams

Jessica Bardsley

2022, 13:18 minutes, colour and B&W, English (text, not subtitles)

TAPECODE 2130.04

Life Without Dreams is set in the outer space of consciousness, where the surfaces of far out planetary bodies form the terrain for an exploration of 24/7 capitalism, insomnia, and the disappearance of darkness.

As media scholar Johnathan Crary has described, the human need for sleep has been at odds with the conditions of 24/7 capitalism, or the constant, ongoing demands of our economic system. But without sleep, people cannot dream. And in the words of Guy Debord, “As long as necessity is socially dreamed, dreaming will remain a social necessity.”

Montaging personal experiences of sleeplessness with archival images of nocturnal owls and bats, 3D animations made by NASA of the night sky, YouTube videos of sleeping train passengers, a sleep scientist describing sleep debt, and an astronomer talking about darkness, this ensemble of images warps the contours of reality as it blends with fiction.

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