By LUISA CALDWELL, June 2022
While watching Jeanne Susplugas’s new VR project I Will Sleep When I’m Dead, time is suspended; seven minutes seem like one. There are over thirty actions to activate by focusing on objects that slowly come at you. The exploratory aspect fully envelopes the viewer. With a stylized innocence, hand drawn and 3-d enhanced images of girls, a house, food, a monster, a shiba, a bomb, pop culture references, a snow globe, symbols and icons, pill bottles and pills, tech devices, images that evoke violence, love, fear, and quotidian life pass by-it's all there. The isolated images are suspended and interspersed with representations of spidery neural synopsis which unite the aesthetic field. An object, when focused on, responds by zooming in, while all other imagery floats by. For instance, when focused on, a cookie cutter house nears closer, spins, and burns; a dog when “activated” snarls…
The dreamlike structure is hypnotic and uncanny. The familiar objects come at you in a methodic and rhythmic pace and strangely stay within peripheral vision. Looking up or looking behind, the images keep moving. Despite the rhythmic calm of the work there is a heightened emotional sense enhanced by the musical score composed by Vincent Lagadrillière. One begins to witness a subtle narrative arc with shifting atmospheric background, beginning as a light filled summer sky then turns ominously dark. It’s like an overactive brain or insomniac’s mind, the mind is where demons lurk. An image of an open laptop with lines from an Emily Dickinson poem sums it up…
One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—
One need not be a House—
The Brain has Corridors—surpassing
After speaking with neural scientists, with I Will Sleep When I’m Dead, Susplugas strives to replicate the way we think with constant fleeting thoughts mixed with lasting ones. The three hundred plus images were taken from interviews of people when asked what they were thinking. She has created a kind of universal language and symbology bank. The brain is constantly working, often beyond our consciousness thanks to rapid fire synopsis. It seems we humans are naturally predisposed to attention deficiency, easily drawn into a TikTok world. This VR literally depicts a journey through the brain, in this case artist’s, but possibly anyones brain at any given moment.
I Will Sleep When I’m Dead is viewed on a Quest II headset and was made with the application Unity. Used in gaming technology, this VR technology is state of the art. It is some of the best VR I have ever experienced. (Another recent contender is currently on view in the Greek pavilion at The Venice Biennale by artist and filmmaker Loukia Alavanou with her VR installation Oedipus In Search of Colonus.)
Taking about a year to make, Susplugas realized this piece at VR Workshop in Arles France, with support from a CNC and Orange XR grants.
Based in Paris, Susplugas is a multi disciplined artist with a strong practice in sculpture, installation and drawing. But drawing is foundational for Susplugas, and using this state of the art VR technology is her way at bringing drawing into the Twenty-first century.
I Will Sleep When I’m Dead can be experienced at these current and upcoming events:
I will sleep when I’m dead, le Cube, Issy-Les-Moulineaux (13.01.2022-07.2022)
Art me, Galerie Charlot, Paris (curated by Dominique Moulon) (21.04-07.2022)
Home keeping home shaking, L’ahah, Paris (30.06-09.07.2022)
Paréidolie, Marseille (27-28.08.2022). WM
Luisa Caldwell is an artist working and living between NYC and Italy. Known for large scale public art works, with recent installations at Hancher Auditorium at University of Iowa using 17,000 found and collected candy wrappers. Permanent projects include commissions from NYC Percent for Art and NYC MTA Art& Design. Autumn of 2019 Caldwell has residencies through CEC Back Apartment Residency in St. Petersburg, Russia and Guild House at Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY.view all articles from this author