Research into sleep revealed that light is the most dominant factor (known as a zeitgeber) impacting the human circadian rhythm, and specifically the sleep - wake cycle.
From the blue lights electronic devices are emitting that are disrupting our sleep patterns represented in work such as Doug Aitkin's 'A Portrait of the Present'; to the role natural light plays in connecting us to each other and the space we inhabit as demonstrated by Olafur Eliasson's 'The Weather Project' and 'Little Sun', light has a significant influence on our daily lives. The Dialogue in the Dark exhibition allows us to spend time in a familiar landscape set in a completely dark environment, asking us to consider a world without light, or sight.
Light, and indeed darkness have been a focus for my experimentation: flashing lights mimic the eye blinking; the use of light in a dark space can indicate the associations between sleep and death, or the depression and despair that can come with chronic insomnia. Different levels of light can convey different moods, and this will continue to be investigated in the future.
Techniques requiring light have become one of the pillars of my practise. From light based installations, video, film and photography to processes involving light at some stage such as cyanotypes, analogue dark room manipulation, and creating screen prints, light is part of the equation in some form, and is always considered. Aldo Tambellini's use of light and dark has been an inspiration here.
Initial experimentation into developing work inspired by our relationships with sleep was inspired by the insomnia photographs of Tracey Emin (see critical analysis), and the Louise Bourgeois Insomnia drawings, both of which demonstrated the isolation of not sleeping.
To attempt to demonstrate the neurological and psychological elements of sleep disruption quick iPhone snaps were taken from beneath the covers in bed, both at night (between 3 and 5am) and in the morning.