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|For seven days, the viewers were invited to enter a white room where they walked barefoot through a forest of fur, to lie in bed and listen to recorded stories of love and heartbreak in the pillows. The space was animated by sounds of sobbing, breathing and laughing, intermingled with a short piece of tango, as a film of a young woman untangling her long dark hair played on an endless loop.
For seven nights, I slept in the gallery with an invited partipant. The private action was used to articulate conflicting feelings of loneliness, anxiety, desire and comfort, as my date and I fell out of love and into sleep together. In the morning, I gave each participant a self-addressed envelope and asked them to send me a piece of writing and a lock of their hair.
The piece was initially conceived as a site-specific installation for a small dark room at the top of a Rapunzelesque tower in the A-foudation, Liverpool. As part of a Valentine's Day event called Wrong Love, strangers would climb the tower two by two, to lie in bed together and listen to anonymous stories of love, loss and longing. It stemmed out of a research project I began in 2009, where I go to stranger's homes to sleep beside them in their beds. Each stranger is chosen by someone that I have already slept beside at some point in my life, setting up a kind of double trust. The only information I am given is the stranger's address and the hour and date that I should arrive at their door. There are no rules for the time that we spend together. It's an awkward first night in a new lover's bed, a frustrated insomniac’s hallucinations, a childhood pajama party, or a couple’s sad slumber when they've fallen out of love. All the time the question repeating itself, what happens when love is over?
Read Upon Sleeping With Samantha Sweeting, text by Anonymous
*The title is adapted from a poem by Pablo Neruda, in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.