sleepers #1-6, 2006/2023
C-Print, ~ 84 x 11 1/2” each
Six couples of different nationalities were photographed over the course of one night’s sleep. The couples represent Los Angeles’ diverse multi-ethnic and-cultural mix and celebrate different types of love among friends and romantic relationships. Each couple chose the colors of their bed sheets, covers, and what to wear. A camera placed parallel to the bed recorded their body movements every 42 minutes, and although the intervals were consistent, in total darkness and in a sleepy state, the participants could not predict when the camera would take the next photo. Inspired by experimental choreographer and dancer Trisha Brown and composer John Cage’s anti-narrative strategies, unpredictability is used as an organizing principle. The resulting color photographs are presented side by side, following the order in which they were taken, and displayed as one continuous piece. Each set varies from 9 to 13 images according to the length of time that each couple slept. Similar to a canvas, the color of the bed sheets emphasizes each couple’s flow of gestures and unique sense of movement. The images challenge traditional notions of portraiture: Although the person sleeping is physically present, they are unconscious and are not directly in control of their movements. This “involuntary choreography” depicts nightly body movements which are seldom seen, playing with notions of pose and spontaneity, here and there, presence and absence. Collection of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Art Program.