Monday, April 20, 2015

Susan Morris, Sun Dial: Night Watch

Since 2010, the British artist Susan Morris has been wearing an Actiwatch -- a medical device that collects data on the wearer's sleeping and waking patterns.

When connected to a computer, this information can be displayed as a graph that exhibits the subject's periods of activity and rest over a twenty-four hour period. Separate days are recorded along the horizontal axis, and each vertical line reflects wakefulness over one day and a night. Black signifies 'sleep', while red is a register of 'activity'. Colours in-between convey the relative proportion of activity to non-activity.

Morris has converted her sleep pattern Actigraphs into large-scale tapestries. To do this she uses a weaving company in the Low Countries who operate computer-guided Jacquard looms. Each horizontal thread represents one minute of her days, and a tapestry shows one year of her life.

Susan Morris, Sun-Dial: NightWatch_Sleep/Wake_2010 (2011)

Several of her tapestries are now permanently installed in the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford, UK.

Having persisted with the project for five years, Morris plans to conclude the work later this year.