Somnotium: Sleep Project

 SOMNOTIUM was exhibited at UCL’s atmospheric pathology museum in October 2018. The exhibition showcased a series of artworks which explored the relationships between body matter and the biological rhythms of the brain.

The exhibition included the sculptures Count (2017), Rhythm (2017), Somnatium (2017) and a series of watercolours, including Wash (2017) and Wave Goodbye (2017).  This work is informed by work with clinical neurophysiologist Kimberley Whitehead and Matthew Beaumont, Professor of English Literature at Kings College London. As well as the art works being produced, a  paper was written for the Lancet: Insomnia: a cultural history, The Lancet, Volume 391, Issue 10138, 16 - 22 June 2018, pages 2408 - 2409  (by subscription or purchase).


“I cannot sleep”, Alexander Pushkin wrote in his Lines Written at Night during Insomnia (1830). “Only the monotonous running of the clock/Sounds around me.” Almost all of us, at one time or another, will have experienced the dreary desperation of insomnia. “The anxiety of the sleeping night”, Pushkin continues in his attempt to capture this intolerable dynamic, “The mouse-like scampering of life”. This “scampering” of daily life into the time set aside for rest has been reported for hundreds of years, but it is particularly pertinent to review the cultural history of sleeplessness from the present-day perspective, a world in which many of us take our electronic devices and daily lives to bed with us