Philip Bowser

Baku Sleep Center

Even a minor illness can be stressful and uncomfortable, forcing people to find new ways to cope. Visual artists through the years have busied themselves with their work to better understand--or at least gain some sense of mastery-- over their own  physical or mental illness-induced discomfort. Tsoku Maela, Lauren Henkin, Sally Mann, and Jennifer Hudson Thoreson come to mind, and served as inspirations.

Baku Sleep Center began with my own feelings of being poked and prodded with medical tests to find the root cause of my insomnia. I hoped that by making a project of this experience, I could feel a bit less like a lab rat and somewhat more in charge of my life.

Using an intervalometer, I took photos every 15 minutes for one night. Since the room was dark, this process produced grainy, occasionally blurred images. Hung on clipboards, the installation pretends to be the wall of a conference room at the Baku Sleep Center. The viewer now has the opportunity to be simply a voyeur, or to "put on a white coat" and pretend to be a member of the Center. Staff are expected to study the images for clues, and recommend treatments.

A quick response code on display makes it easy for smart phone owners to email their own tips for a better night's sleep, comment on the work, become an email troll, or...?!?

The installation juried into the "Thinking in Threes" exhibition, held at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, in 2016, and was awarded a small cash prize as an Honorable Mention. The juror was Laura Moya, Executive Director of Photolucida.

The three archival pigment prints are approximately 8.5"x11" each, printed by the artist in his studio, mounted on clip boards, and hung on the wall by lanyards. This method will expose the images to the elements, where they will show signs of aging, just like the live subjects they portray.

$500.00 plus shipping.

Viewers of this page are invited to send their own best practices for a restful sleep, and/or comments on the installation to:

Viewers with an urge to do research may find the name of the sleep center, Baku, leads to an interesting back story.

Contact the artist to arrange delivery or with other inquiries.

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