Posts Tagged 'Sleep'

Peter Goodfellow DADOES

There’s no separating sleeping, dreaming and the creative process. From Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1608) to the suspended animation beds of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Sci-Fi and sleep are inexorably linked.

We’ve talked about waking dreams before on this site, referencing films like Brainstorm (1983) and Videodrome (1983). But rather than the lucid dream of virtual reality, or how we tap into our unconscious processes in order to create – wonderfully illustrated in a recent BBC article on Dion McGregor, let’s instead consider the representation of sleep within the genre.

Look at the plethora of available sleep apps, alongside the monitoring devices such as Fitbit, Misfit and Moov, and it seems as though we’re already living in a once dreamed of tomorrow when it comes to technology and sleep. It’s interesting to note. however, the somatic conflict within this.. The blue light emitted from devices has already been linked to a ‘waking up’ of the body’s natural sleep patterns, and yet apps to help you doze off and stay asleep are still rife.

Elsewhere the promise of deep space travel using human hibernation to reduce life support payloads, has taken an interesting step towards reality thanks to NASA funded research. It’s also the cornerstone of a host of plot devices that have allowed for sleep to be used as a time machine. Think of Savi in Dan Simmons’ Ilium or Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014) at the sublime end of the spectrum, and Fry from Futurama or Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) over at the ridiculous.

Another interesting by-product of cryogenic sleep is that other oft-used Sci-Fi trope of the Methuselah effect. Like Rip Van Winkle or Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carpenter, protagonist sleeping until the world changes around them – or turning their lifespan into something episodic rather than linear – opens yet more creative worlds of possibility. (Just consider Peter Wayland cheating terminal illness in Ridley Scott’s untidy Prometheus (2012).)

Reality altering, time travelling, life extending… As in the real world, the mysteries of sleep just keep the creative juices flowing, especially when it comes to the fantastical.

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