Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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i think i love you: reflections, 2015
RAMOS: Hi sleeper!
thank you for joining me
SLEEPER: Thanks for having me.
RAMOS: lets talk about what you've been up to lately
i am looking at some of the images
seem like shots from a performance
this past year i've been focusing more and more on performance. Always with an emphasis on sculpture... but yes lots of performance.
Ive been doing some intervention stuff but also more concrete works
Things with titles, duration, cast and stuff
RAMOS: what do you mean by intervention stuff?
SLEEPER: i do this mostly in the beginning stages of creating a work. Kind of going out in public in pieces still in progress. This kind of gives me a sense on how people react to the personalities I'm trying to establish... get a feel for what its like to become this persona.
how they move, what feels surface etc.
RAMOS: got it... and contingent on public reaction you adjust the performance
SLEEPER: yes and no... but it does help in gauging whether or not im getting the reactions im looking for
RAMOS: what kinds of reactions are you typically looking for?
SLEEPER: never anything in specific. The goal is to see if the suits are engaging.
My face is never visible. Its more of a tool of observation. I hear feed back from people around me. There is something that happens when people cannot see your face that allows them to speak about you freely in front you as if you weren't there
The goal is to understand how i'm being perceived through my presentation.
RAMOS: how do you select where the intervention takes place? is it the future location of the performance?
SLEEPER: There are two ways. one is whim... the other is when im booked as a "performer" at clubs or something.
i see this as part of sort of studio practice.
If someone books sleeper i get most times creative freedom... so long as i do my sets. lol
RAMOS: ha, that's awesome
SLEEPER: These function both as a way to fund the project as well as develop the personas and ideas through practice
RAMOS: the images i am looking at, there are multiple performers
are these collaborations or are they part of your project
i think i love you: reflections, 2015
SLEEPER: yes. when the physical parts of the pieces are completed then begins the choreography. The actual performance are always done with 3 performers
The work is mine. But there are collaborations that occur with in the work.
The sound for both works i emailed you are created by Dim Past. He has been great to collaborate with. There is a sort of dialogue in the beginning stages where i tell him the ideas and mood i'm trying to create and he always delivers.
I'm a big fan of course.
when thats sorted and the choreography is done then i start calling friends take part in the performance
ive been very fortunate in the support from talented friends donating their time in helping me present the work
everyone moves a little different and so then there are tiny collaborations going on during rehearsals where there are opportunities based on everyone's ability and movement vocabulary
RAMOS: and about the performance, is this all done for one time show, or is it a continuous or evolving project?
SLEEPER: "ugh" is a stand alone piece although it belongs to a larger body of work, "beneath this mask, a disguise" comprised mostly of sculpture.
The other performance "reflections" is a work that has a second evolution in the works. This one is also a part of a larger body of work "i think i love you"
RAMOS: lets talk about "ugh" for a bit
RAMOS: it looks like it takes place on the stairwell at cannonball
SLEEPER: some of those images were taken there cause we did our rehearsals on the second floor above the corner.
RAMOS: and the performance included you guys singing? i see you holding microphones or at lease what seems like strings from such.
SLEEPER: That is rope.
SLEEPER: There is a part in the performance where we vomits this rope.
Its during this purging our crotches shrink.
RAMOS: and prior to that your crotches are full of rope
RAMOS: that sounds dangerous
SLEEPER: you should check out our dance moves
RAMOS: let me ask you
so much work goes into the details, the music, the choreography, the rehearsals... what is your intention, if there is an overall gesture
SLEEPER: “ugh” deals with identity . I often make work that is personal, not
necessarily with any specific agenda, rather as a platform for figuring things
out and relate to others. In everyone’s uniqueness there is an underlying vulnerability that most of us share in private. These feelings of uncertainty that contribute to this angst is fuel for this type of work.
Presentation, mannerisms, boy, girl, struggle, dominance and power are all
present during the creation of this work. This performers in the piece struggle
within them selves as they present to the audience with moments of introversion. The performers run through stages in work that helps them find some resolution through their journey.
RAMOS: because it deals with an identity that exist internally, you therefore distort the exterior to represent the feeling you describe
SLEEPER: There are elements in the performance that have specific connotations i feel with in queer culture. Feels, movements, and struggles.
This piece is a 5 minute tornado of emotions. We cover our bodies so that we can be anyone or everyone.
RAMOS: tell me more about these connotations
SLEEPER: vomiting, big dicks, long hair, rope, anxiety, whats feminine whats masculine. this struggle to self love.
RAMOS: some of these are general issues of humanity, such as anxiety, gender, and self-love
RAMOS: therefore are we assuming that those specific to the queer culture are vomiting, big dicks, and rope?
i think those are pretty general to
RAMOS: what is so different about the queer culture?
SLEEPER: The difference is me. I'm speaking from what Ive experienced.
Someone else utilizing the same tools i've implemented in this work would have come out with a much different performance.
Performance is a special thing in this way. Its also a reason for me translating in this way rather than sculpture or painting. Its a visceral experience. I feel like i could show you better than i could explain it to you.
RAMOS: well that's fair
However, in conversation and articulating the intention we get to imagine beyond what it is
would it be fair to say that you are representing an experience from within the queer culture?
SLEEPER: i think without conversation or articulation one can imagine beyond what it is
RAMOS: that is also true...
if you are representing your culture... are you just being yourself and calling it art?
living your life is different.
i'm not sure if this is a "what is art" type of question
RAMOS: it's not
it is a personal question
are you using art to be more of who you are?
SLEEPER: i am a private person for the most part. My art is an outlet the same as it is for most people who make work. I speak from my experiences because that is what i know. I don't feel i'm very different than most people when it comes down to some core struggles to societal constraints. When i make work i do so in an effort to relate to others.