For some of us the holidays ended so long ago we're ready for another one. Others may have been siesta-ing only last week. But this isn’t the time to go to sleep because we have the eighth instalment of the Longer Light Series, a filmic meditation on sleeping by Connor Tomas O Brien. Read more
In the summer, we don’t sleep because we’re tired.
We sleep because the distinction between the world and our bodies becomes hazy and hard to define.
In countries where things move slow, the word for summer sleep is honest: siesta.
But in countries where we can’t slow down, we resort to euphemisms for our beautiful laziness.
In Australia, power naps, or in Japan, inemuri: sleeping while present.
We are slaves to our circadian signals.
We can fight our internal rhythms or acquiesce.
In the summer, we’re attuned to natural light,
To gradients as daylight gives way to darkness.
And darkness gives way to daylight.
This is how things should work, and have worked:
No switches, no lightbulbs,
But organic light that fades in and out,
Two dozen hours of shifting light making a day.
When we create the apocalypse
It will be our sleep that suffers, first.
Our rhythms will fall out of time,
So far out that we can’t get back to where we were.
We might create days that last for decades,
Or decades that last for days,
Tying our sleep to the demands of our devices.
This is why we need to notice the way light falls,
Give in to “solar somnolence”, close our eyes when the day is warm.
MORE FROM THE LONGER LIGHT SERIES:
The Longer Light Series explores the idea that our personal rituals – from the mundane to the grand – tether us to special places and particular times. It investigates how our rituals are contingent on the places where we perform them, on the rhythm of the seasons, on the weather of any given day, on what we see and smell around us.
The 12 distinct works of the series detail, document or respond to some sort of ritual (as each contributor interprets that word) enacted during a week of summer days and nights. The works will be published in weekly instalments so that, in concert, they plot the arc of an Australian summer.
The Longer Light Series is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.