RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME
—curatorial text accompanying the exhibition
Restless Legs Syndrome
27 Nov—13 Dec 2015, BWA Zielona Góra
translation from Polish: Judson Hamilton
The exhibition features a selection of Kama Sokolnicka's artwork from her Jet Lag series. The title of the series, Jet Lag, is a term borrowed from medical terminology. Similar to the "restless leg syndrome," used in the exhibition title, jet lag is a sleep disorder. It is caused by travelling along a parallel. Symptoms include insomnia, problems with concentration, headache, disorientation, and exhaustion. Considering the story presented at the exhibition, it seems interesting that westbound travel is less bothersome, whilst travelling eastwards and the resulting "time loss," or its forward shift, causes more serious adaptive problems. Using terminology from sleep studies, Kama Sokolnicka creates a metaphor of the current condition of the world, where western societies are slowing down after a period of the jet economy prosperity. She creates condensed images, whose dreamy syntaxhas something nightmarish about it. Yet the artist shows only what is; barely putting it in a frame. These are simply shrinking fabrics, surprisingly heavy dainty objects, super-sticky liquid.
The exhibition features a selection of objects built around a piece entitled Sleep Disorders.The choice of this particular woollen rug is linked to the economic history of Zielona Góra—the city of Polish Wool. Today the remains of a historical factory, which is one of the pre-war symbols of a modernising city, house a shopping mall—the epitome of a shrunk forum of the post-production era.It is here that the city-dwelling shoppers live out their fantasies of wealth and schoolchildren skip school to surf the net using free Wi-Fi.
Sleep Disorders, a black woollen rug, is a significant statement about perceptive processes—the form of this exhibit, inspired by Deleuze’s The Fold (Le Pli), presents entities that surround us together with the metaphysical properties attributed to them, as deformed materiality. History, architecture, knowledge, and art are formed in our perception from blends of overlaying observations and experiences. For Sokolnicka, who is fascinated with topology, disorders are the norm; what is fought against as disease symptoms, to her, is a way to deepen our understanding of the nature of things. Thus she carefully observes her own mistakes, slips of the tongue and amusing situations that reveal the inner workings and material nature of our minds.
Sleep Disorders contain one more meaning related to the changes occurring in the times of late capitalism. It seems that insomnia and narcolepsy are not merely diseases but psychosomatic reactions to the unceasing need for continuous production. The imbalance in the natural rhythm of night and day causes a number of lifestyle diseases. Sleep, therefore, is something more than just our natural need to regenerate—it is a state when we disconnect from the outsourced factory of services.