What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus Value


two-channel HD video (12’24”, color, sound)

installation views, Allegorical Circuits for Human Software (curated by Laurie Cotton Pigeon), Place Publique, Darling Fonderie, 2020. Photo by Hugo St-Laurent

What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus ValueMy body is connected to a system of interfaces and sensors that translate the brainwave signals collected from my sleep into visuals and sounds. The visuals that are responsive to the brainwave data transition between choreographed body movements, while the same set of bio-data modulates the song L’Internationale as a standard of the international communist movement.

The core of the work is a performance of “doing-nothing”. It is a visual and sonic anthem of fatigue and frustration, a useless polemic to the over-demand of productivity in a reality where acts of “doing-nothing” such as relaxation have been exploited to produce surplus value. The act of “doing nothing” in this work is an act of passive disengagement when lethargy becomes the productivity of useless labouring that is at the same time oversimplified and regulated by bio-cybernetic feedback loops.

“What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus Value is a performance that simulates a synesthetic experience by translating bio-data into visuals and sounds. The artist relies on a retroactive system, using an electroencephalogram (EEG) and sensors, to pick up bioelectric signals from her body while in a sleep state. Meanwhile, the artist listens to the generated sounds, creating a feedback reflex to her dream state. Various data is then processed through a computer program that generates an artificial universe, revealing the extent of these involuntary reflex actions. These are calculated by the computer in the form of binary codes, which are then associated with synaesthetic images and sounds. Presented as a hymn to chronic fatigue, What lets lethargy dream produces lethargy’s surplus value extends onto the reflections of the performance series, Allegorical Circuits for Human Software, and invites us to review the relationship we have with our bodies, as digital speed amplifies both the acceleration of the world and our emotional exhaustion.”  — Laurie Cotton Pigeon