Exhibition project of the artsprogram / Zeppelin University
Sponsored by Baden-Württemberg Stiftung and Fränkel Stiftung
09 | 10 | 2018 - 15 | 02 | 2019
The exhibition "71% (play)", by Swiss artist Martina Mächler (*1991) takes the form of an audio installation in which the artist engages with the subject of sleep. What interests her is that sleep – a sphere which until recently could be considered as one of the few remaining areas of personal freedom – has now itself become an object of control and optimization.
For some time, Mächler’s performative multimedia projects have been concerned with the relationship between work, subjectivation, and self-discipline. Mächler examines the economic dimension of freedom by subjecting herself to experimentation. An example is her annual presentation of her accounts. Since 2013 Mächler has meticulously been keeping records of her scarce income and expenditure and presents revenue and expenditure in precisely staged performances. These are meticulously noted down, translated into graphics and diagrams, and capture the artist's life as tables of numbers and facts.
In her work "71% (play)", part of ZU artsprogram’s overall theme of “Islands of Freedom”, Mächler deals with the idea of the sphere of sleep as an important retreat, one which critics of capitalism claim is the only remaining area where the subject remains inaccessible, vulnerable, and recalcitrant. In her multi-media installation consisting of a carpet, cushions and four loudspeakers, visitors can hear a range of different voices – all spoken by the artist herself. Some pronounce quotes and variations of widespread sleep apps for smartphones, others are the inner monologues of a protagonist seeking to give up monophasic sleep and replace it with polyphasic sleep cycles.
Mächler herself had tried to follow the time-saving polyphasic Everyman sleep plan, used by some celebrities to gain more working time. This plan, which apps help to implement, consists of 3.5 hours of core sleep and 20-minute power naps every 6 hours. The voices from the loudspeakers in Mächler’s installation bring different instructions or suggestions for action stemming from the sleep apps. In so doing, the installation gives an intimation of a never-ending loop of optimization and gives an insight into how it might feel if one let such an app dictate one’s everyday life. The installation provokes questions such as: which space remains for free and spontaneous decisions? Is there still room for idleness? What role does the social environment play for individual decisions?
The exhibition "71 % (play)" was accompanied by a series of lunchtime scientific talks, readings and performances. In addition, a performance of the performative intervention "guided session 05" took place on 05.11.2018. This audio performance, developed by Mächler with Karolin Brägger took up the theme of regeneration. Based on theoretical, pop-cultural and political texts on the theme, a collage-like narrative emerges, reminiscent of guided meditation sessions.
Ulrike Shepherd | Curator of the ZU-artsprogram | email@example.com
Prof. Dr. Karen van den Berg | Academic spokesperson of the ZU-artsprogram | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Karen van den Berg (1. Photo) and Valentin Kremer