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'Eluding Sleep'

12/04/2021 - 26/04/2021

By Kirsten Farquhar


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Born from my own experiences with nightmares, lucid dreaming, and sleep paralysis - and the distorted, sinister, and threatening occurrences that come with them - my work ventures into the depths of the subconscious mind. Inspired by my dream journal entries, I attempted to depict my sleep experiences through the experimentation of sound and film. With a combination of distorted imagery and unsettling sounds, I have created ambiences and sensations that are both personal to me, yet unnervingly familiar to others. By exploring the darkness we see as we stare up at our ceilings before falling asleep, to the mysterious imaginings we endure as we dream, I hope to bring awareness to the surreal experiences that the mind can take us - often making us want to elude sleep. 

'Orbs', 2019

Dream Journal Entry: … I cannot remember much of my dream. Although I can recall being trapped lying on my side. Obscure unidentifiable shapes - almost like orbs - wandering, floating, morphing before my eyes. The echoing of sound seemed to fill the room, as if every sound from the real world around me merged into one droning noise… 

'Figures', 2019

Dream Journal Entry: … a vivid lucid dream. The images and sensations I endured felt erratic and planetary, as if I were flicking through TV channels at one-hundred miles an hour. The images and sensations I felt seemed somewhat controlled by me. These things were not necessarily things wanted to see, but definitely my fear and anxiety behind this experience and lack of understanding on how to properly lucid dream may have been an influence. 

'A View Of My Bedroom Ceiling Before I Sleep', 2020

Inspired by Bill Viola’s film, ‘Memoria,’ I was intrigued by the idea of visualising the retinal grain/noise within the darkness before you go to sleep. I was also really interested in the ideas of preconsciousness in dreams as well as your mind playing tricks on you in the dark. I filmed the darkness of my room every night and layered all the videos together to create this grainy image with different shadows and shapes emerging.

'Sleep Paralysis', 2020

When you cannot move or speak as you are waking up or falling asleep. 

Dream Journal Entry: … the silence was deafening. I felt like I was being held down by a suffocating weight on my chest – Henry Fuseli’s, ‘The Nightmare,’ comes to mind. Although, whatever sat upon my chest like the incubus-like creature in Fuseli’s painting could not be seen. Instead, visions of a figure lurking in the doorway and continuing to pace up and down the space at the bottom of my bed. I try to cry out but the only noise that comes out is a faint gasp. I awaken as the figure makes its way towards me… 

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