Sleeping people: Anonymous photos for World Sleep Day

From the sleeping people of Anonymous Project to Ottessa Moshfegh’s book dedicated to a very long sleep

“Oh, sleep. There was nothing else that could give me so much pleasure, so much freedom, power to feel and move and think and imagine, safe from the misery of my waking consciousness,” says the novel’s unnamed protagonist My year of rest and oblivion by Ottessa Moshfegh. The protagonist has only one wish, to sleep for a whole year to fully regenerate and start all over again, so she ingests a large amount of narcotics which put her to sleep for a year or keep her in a state of unconscious wakefulness. So, for the World Sleep Daywhich occurs every March 17thwe thought of a couple of ways to pay tribute to an all too neglected activity, of which we can only speak with a negative meaning, forgetting that sleep is actually a regenerating and magical dreamlike dimension.

Sleep seemed productive to me. Something was settling. I knew in my heart – this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew then – that as soon as I had enough sleep, everything would be fine. I would have regenerated, reborn. I would just be a new person, each of my cells would regenerate enough times that the old ones would remain blurred distant memories. We would like to add these words to another project dedicated to sleep, that is Sweet Dreams, a collection of photographs of unknown people sleeping. To cure it is Anonymous Projectthe photographic initiative of the artist Lee Shulman which started when one day, at random, he ordered a box of slides on the internet.

Once projected, he realized how precious the images he saw were, that they portrayed complete strangers, and that they had essentially been abandoned. What Shulman does is give a life and a new light to these photographscollecting them in volumes of photographic books (such as the splendid Midcentury Memories published by Taschen) or exhibiting them in galleries, linking them all by a theme. In this case that of the photographs taken by surprise of sleeping people. Which shine with the same light that dreams have.

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