productivity | sleep
Laurie Frick is a visual artist that make work, objects, and installations that relate to brain rhythm. In the video, she presents her amazing work on daily activity charts and sleep charts translated to art. She measured her nightly sleep for over 3 years using a ZEO eeg headband and has almost 1000 nights of sleep data.
Excel | zeo
This is my last body of work I made large scale, large pieces and I had this sense that a painting is just like 24 hours. And a successful painting you know has part of it that’s simple and clean, and clear like sleep. And there’s parts of it that has this like you know intensive argument, this bad little spot and there’s this perfect little place you know and it’s the ice-cream sundae. But 24 hour really would make a great painting.
It’s got all the proportions, which got me thinking you know how do I actually really measure 24 hours, and I went in search of time-keepers. And I found Ben Lipkowitz, who’s a pretty famous quantified selfer and he’s awesome.
He’s been measuring his daily activities for the last five years and he puts every speck of it on the internet. It’s at www.phonetic.net. So he quantifies every minute of the day. So you’re looking at just about a month. Every horizontal band is 24 hours. And so when you take a look, he’s manages his sleep. So every day he sleeps a little bit more and goes to bed later every day. So you’re looking at blue is his sleep, red is online, purple is reading, green is eating, yellow’s chatting. I mean I know this because I feel like I’ve been stalking him. I have spent hundreds of hours with his daily activity charts. I’m actually afraid to kind of meet him, because it’s too weird because I really know this guy.
So I was really fascinated, so as I looked at this because it felt like a familiar language to me. It felt like time. It felt like the way memory worked, and I was fascinated. And I met Steve Dean last summer and he said, Laurie you really should just work from somebody else’s data you should measure something of your own, and I decided to use a Zeo to measure my own sleep.
So this is last night’s sleep and I’ve been measuring my sleep since last summer and what I found was basically you don’t sleep as well as you think. I got six hours of sleep last night. You wake up more than you know and you start to get a really good understanding. For me I’m a light sleeper; I don’t get that much deep sleep. And I’ve become pretty fascinated with this. I’m a big Zeo proponent, so $199 on Amazon.
But I actually found there sleep charts, I thought there’s got to be something in the way time and sleep, and you grab it on a little memory card. And people don’t know how a Zeo works, it’s a headband, it’s an EEG. You actually get very accurate data of your light sleep, your deep sleep, your REM sleep, every time you wake up. And you can grab it in as small increments as 30 seconds. But you can grab it off a little memory card. You upload it. You can download it into and Excel spreadsheet which is what I started doing.
So this is a month’s worth of sleep that I grabbed and pulled into Excel and I kind of ditched their graphics. And what you’re taking a look at is orange is when I’m awake, purple is deep sleep, the yellow is REM sleep. And I met with a couple of sleep polysomnologist and neurologist and what they call light sleep is trash sleep; it really doesn’t do much for you.
So what I was kind of fascinated by was is I started looking at waking and sleeping as they really weren’t that different. You know so on the left is Ben Lipkowitz, on the right is my sleep. And so I really started thinking about how time based activities as a way to just simply reverse, engineer your personal rhythm, that there is something innate about the proportions of the way you’re spending time. And you really look at this fractured time you know a couple of minutes on the internet, a couple of minutes doing email, a couple of minutes on the phone. You flip back, you switch the other tab, you check what email came in. I mean that nature of time you know, some people are a little frightened by it but I think there’s an innate connection to you. And if I can figure out how to grab that and play it back to you there’s something comforting about it.
A little more obsessing about sleep, so I started gathering and comparing sleep from others. I bought a Zeo for my husband, and we we’re a little worried of the radio because they are little Bluetooth that they would cross – no they’re fine.
And so I compared sleep with others and I’ve loaned it to people you know, try your sleep. And he always had the idea he was a terrible sleeper and that I was a good sleeper, and it turns out just the opposite, so I really got some sick satisfaction there.
And then I really looked at just at the sense of awake sleep, you know how often you wake up compared to deep sleep and I started looking at these patterns and I thought that there was something innately organic, something human, something really familiar. Something you can’t quite explain but it feels – this isn’t something you couldn’t just sit and draw. There’s a pattern to this that’s innately familiar.
So then I started drawing these and making drawings out of the sleep patterns, and made lots of them. And then I really started looking at daily activity patterns and these Ben Lipkowitz activity patterns of a period of a month and seeing how they played out. And then I started actually making pieces out of bound wood, using things that were familiar. These are made out of high gloss trays that I found in a warehouse in Nebraska, and I cut them up into tiny little slices and made them relate to components of basically of the sleep charts. And then I made more.
These are all about four foot square and this this ones about six foot, it’s larger. I should probably break the suspense. These are all hanging in a show in Los Angeles at Edward Cella, there’s a gallery. This piece is at the W Hotel in Austin Texas.
So if you look at these up close you know you’re trying to make them feel human. There’s a sense of time in the hand to make them relate to you as a person.
Then I made more. This ones about two foot, this relates directly to those sleep charts. And as I was making the work related to pattern I thought that the nature of rhythm and virtual rhythm is a lot like music. You sort of get this response to it, there’s a beat, there’s a cadence and it’s a lot like prose or poetry that you hear it, you see it. And I thought well I’m going to give them a little decoder ring. So I made a little piece that you see on the floor is that it was like this Brrrrrrh. I was trying to make it obvious to people that there’s a feel to it, that this is about rhythm and that musical rhythm and visual rhythm are related and connected.
In the gallery in Los Angeles – I brought some cards. I’ll be happy to give them to anybody. I started to look and see what it would feel like if you surrounded the space, so you could walk into it and have it surround you. So this is about 15 feet tall and surrounds about 20 feet.
And then last Friday I got reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. So it’s online, you Google it you’ll find it. It made it into the paper and the writer really talked about the nature of rhythm and the drumbeat, and Fibonacci sequences, and the nature of mathematical recollection and understood the nature of sleep patterns and activity patterns are infact the reflection of you. It’s the nature of portraiture per se.
There we go.