SLEEP 5959 – Art for sleepers, art by sleepers and art as sleep

SLEEP 5959 is an art project by Shu Lea Cheang and Matthew Fuller, conducted in in collaboration with MFK, Metood För Konstnärlig frihet.

Två kvinnor i historiska dräkter.
  • 23 - 25 September 2021
  • Stora Festsalen, Malmö Konstmuseum / Malmö Museer

Public opening hours in Stora Festsalen

Thursday 23/9, 18.00 - 21.03 (Tea is served at 18.00, Reading starts at 19:03)

Friday 24/9, 13.00 - 21.00 (Tea is served as the Readings start at 13.00)

Saturday 25/9 - Sunday 26/9, 18.00 - 07.02 (Dinner at kl 18, performance 18:57 - 07:02) Please note! Night of Sleep is fully booked.

On Thursday and Friday, visitors are welcome to the readings without pre-booking. A total of 30 visitors are allowed at the same time. If the installation is temporary full, you will be asked to wait for someone to leave.

Enter Stora Festsalen from the door opposite to the Entrance. This event is free of charge.

59 hours and 59 minutes of installation and performances produced by Malmö Art Museum, MFK Metood För Konstnärlig Frihet, Shu Lea Cheang and Matthew Fuller, with support from The Swedish Arts Council and Konstnärsnämnden.

Header: Notation by Sainkho Namtchylak for 7x7 for 9

Sleep is a refuge. The English romantic poet William Wordsworth called sleep the “blessed barrier between day and day’. We want to inhabit this barrier as something arising out of nature but that is also deeply built-up out of other aspects of life. It is these that form the grounds for the experimental work of the sleep series.

Sleep is a refuge from the work of having a subjectivity, of having to endure, being alert, to respond. But it is also an unexplored aesthetic domain. We are still sensually and metabolically ‘on’ when asleep, just working in other registers. An aim of these projects is to subtly dialogue with these capacities. The sleep series works with an expanding domain of aesthetics through the capacities of the unconscious body. It revises the philosophical cut between the mental subject on the one hand and the somatic object on the other.

Sleep is also a refuge since it is increasingly being discussed as a human right in its own terms, not simply as a sub-set of the right to private and family life. Sleep deprivation is a technique of torture but it is also a crucial function of our permanently alert economies. Finding the differential arrangement of sleep in a society is one way of understanding and reimagining it.

In the context of the epidemic, sleep comes under increasing pressure for many people. We assert the idea that sleep can have its own modes of aesthetics and that art can address itself to them in a way that enhances sleep’s capacity of refuge.

Foto av sångerskan Sainkho Namtchylak

Sainkho Namtchylak, foto: Stephan Andrea


Two rows of ten beds with 1.5m distancing are open for people to sleep in during this event.

Internet Radio Streams

The five sessions of Readings for Sleeping and the Night of Sleep is streamed on the Paris-based independent artist radio station p-node. http://p-node.org


During the entire programme Sleep tea is available for visitors. During the Night of Sleep, sleep food, tea and sleep beer are served.

Please note that the food contains nuts.


This project is the fourth in a series of works, Sleep 48 (Linz, 2018), Sleep 79 (Taipei, 2018), Sleep 1237 (NYC, 2019) that build on the idea of an aesthetics of sleep developed in Matthew Fuller’s book, How to Sleep, the art, biology and culture of unconsciousness (Bloomsbury, 2018). These projects transpose art into sleep, and everyday and scientific sleep actions into active aesthetics.

Please take extra care in these Covid-19 times