Sleepers IV, 2011
80 35 mm slide carousel projection
Ed. of 4 (+ 2 AP)

Alÿs has been documenting people and dogs sleeping on the pavement, on park or street benches. As a rule, the subjects are always framed from ground level on a horizontal plane, both to avoid any implicit hierarchy with the viewer, and to enhance the placid abandonment of these bodies. More than a record of misery, Alÿs registers the private use of the street as an amicable domestic space against the concept of traffic and civic regulation which has virtually become the despotic regime of urban life in the West. In that sense, equating animals and people is also a claim for a complex ecology of the polis, alien to the orthodoxies of hygiene and order. Rather than intruding into other people’s lives, Sleepers records the way dreaming might have a role in a possible re-thinking of our conviviality.

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