events, projects

Sleep Salons – Winter 2022

Detailed information for all the salons and speakers on the dedicated page of the Sociability of Sleep website.

Eventbrite to register

You Tube channel for video recordings of the salons.

Salon no. 5 : Sleep and Labour


✦ Sarah Barnes (Cape Breton University)
✦ Debra Skene (University of Surrey)

The rise of the modern, industrial workday also put sleep “on the clock.” As an optimizable activity of rest and recovery, sleep has arguably become as much a part of our work lives as work itself. This salon explores sleep as an experimental (and monetizable) zone of performance enhancement and bodily entrainment, considering the seemingly extreme cases of professional athletes and hospital shift workers to reveal the tensions we all experience between the social and biological demands of work and rest.

Salon no. 6 : Performing Sleep


✦ Amara Tabor-Smith (Stanford University + Ellen Sebastian Chang (iIrector, Producer, Educator)
✦ Jasmeen Patheja (Artist)

Sleep is usually associated with personal environments and the literal and metaphorical withdrawal from the outside world; so the spectacle of sleeping in public can have powerful aesthetic and political effects. In this Salon we hear from artists who have created works around the performance of sleep and who seek to (re)claim the right to rest and care for the self by staging sleep publicly. These artists remind us of sleep’s linkages between (in)visibility and vulnerability in marginalized and at-risk communities.

Salon no. 7 : Sound and Sleep


✦ Gascia Ouzounian (Oxford University)
✦ Mendo + Keith Obadike (Pratt Institute + William Paterson University)

Falling asleep would seem to be opposite of being a good listener. Yet our guests at Salon 7 join an unlikely circle of composers and musicians who have written and performed music for/with sleeping audiences. Salon 7 undoes the associations of sleeping and listening to notions of passivity, and attends to sleep’s neuroarchitecture and non-conscious modes of experience for ways of rethinking musical form and the politics of reception.

Salon no. 8 : Writing Sleep


✦ Diletta De Cristofaro (Politecnico di Milano/Northumbria University)
✦ Julie Flygare (Project Sleep)

To transform sleep into an object of research or even a topic of conversation has always required writing. From the “writing” of the most advanced EEG in the sleep laboratory to the keeping of a humble dream journal, writing allows us to learn from others’ experience of sleep and to accumulate fine-grained knowledge of sleep’s social significance. Salon 8 juxtaposes literary-critical explorations of sleep in contemporary fiction with the awareness- and empathy-building practices of life writing about sleep and sleep disorders.

Salon no. 9 : The Stuff of Sleep


✦ Tega Brain (New York University) + Sam Lavigne (University of Texas at Austin)
✦ New Circadia (Natalie Fizer, Parsons New School + Richard Sommer, University of Toronto)

The cliché that we spend a third of our lives sleeping has been taken up ambiguously by designers and architects. Most of our built environments are designed to facilitate our waking/working lives. Sleeping, along with resting, (day)dreaming and idling, are thus often part of a design and spatial practice interested optimizing environments for extractive neoliberal productivity and creativity. Salon 9 plays asks how we might design and build for sleep and a privileging of rest and care in the midst of a 24/7 worker/consumer culture.

The Sleep Salons are curated by Josh Dittrich (Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Montréal), Aleksandra Kaminska (Associate Professor, Université de Montréal), and Alanna Thain (Associate Professor, McGill University). They are part of a year-long series:

The Sociability of Sleep is two-year research program that explores both everyday and exceptional experiences of sleep and its disturbances. Launching our programming this Fall are the Sleep Salons, monthly public sessions featuring scholars, artists, and researchers on sleep, showcasing innovative research though conversations that examine how we learn and know about sleep, and that question and expand the methodologies, epistemologies, and equities of sleep knowledge. Exploring the value of sleep research in art and design, humanities, and social sciences, and taking experiential, experimental, critical, and sociable approaches to sleep, each monthly Salon pairs short talks (ca. 25 minutes) from two featured speakers to generate interdisciplinary insights in the ensuing discussion about the sociability of sleep.

The Sociability of Sleep and its Sleep Salons are supported by funding from the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).