THE ART OF SLEEPING
After being invited to participate in extension series 12 by Andrés Galeano, he asked me to perform a re-doing. The bed in which I was supposed to spend the nights of the residency (from November 28 to December 4) inspired me to choose “Bed Piece.” During the opening I went to bed and a note next to it said: “My name is Chris Burden. I asked the gallerist to set up a bed. During the opening, on February 18, I went to bed and got up on March 10, 1972. I left no instructions and talked to nobody.” Although I do not normally sleep at 7pm, I reached a meditative state: half asleep, between dreaming, altered awareness, and lethargy. Imaginations, fragments of thoughts, patterns, optical and acoustical sensations, and animations appeared. A comfort and peace that I have hardly ever experienced filled my mind and created the feeling that a baby must have when taking naps anywhere at any time. Waking up one hour later I was aware that this span of time was nothing compared to Burden’s 22 days. As there was no reason to dramatize the re-doing, I decided to get up and get dressed. Immediately there were visitors forming an audience around me in a way that suggested that I owed them a statement. Zipping up my jacket I decided to tell them what had happened to me during the last hour and how it had inspired a poetic report about the adventures of a good sleep in an art context: the sensation of flying high, running in the air in slow motion, and the contrasting feeling of getting so heavy that my body was sinking into the cushion and mattress that formed a kind of relief. It was getting so heavy that it beamed through the floor and fell through the earth like hot metal through a piece of wax. It struck me that the description of “Bed Piece,” which I read 28 years ago, and sequences of the interview I had with Burden in 1983 in Los Angeles came back to my mind. They must have programmed my brain and allowed me to re-encounter aspects of a former experience somebody else had. Transferred into words, the imaginations, dreams, and sensations connected with that experience once again invaded the discourse around the performance. My body became a physical research-tool of performativity, and I became-as it was announced-a living archive.