« Sleeping / Dormir »
n° 41 (spring 2023)
Intermediality. History and Theory of the Arts, Literature, and Technologies
Guest editors :
Aleksandra Kaminska, Université de Montréal
Dayna McLeod, McGill University
Alanna Thain, McGill University
Deadline to submit proposals : 13 june 2022
Annoucement of selected proposals : 30 june 2022
Submission of completed texts for peer review : 1st november 2022
Publication of the texts approved by the selection committee : spring 2023
Intermédialités/Intermediality is a biannual journal, which publishes original articles in French and English evaluated through a blind peer review process.
Proposals (350–400 words) in English or French should include an abstract, a preliminary bibliography (five books or articles) and a brief biographical note (academic program, fields of interest, 5–10 lines). Proposals will be evaluated by the journal’s scientific committee, based on the originality of the approach and the relevance of the problematic. They should be sent before June 13th, 2022 at the following email addresses: sociabilityofsleepgmail.com
Completed texts should be sent before November 1st, 2022. They should be no longer than 6,000 words (40,000 characters, including spaces) and can incorporate illustrations (audio, visual, still or animated) whose publication rights should be secured by the authors.
Authors are requested to follow the submission guidelines available at:
For more information on Intermédialités/Intermedialities, please consult the journal issues available through the online portal Érudit: http://www.erudit.org/revue/im/apropos.html
Sleep is always social,
affecting others and affected by others.
Society cannot exist without sleep,
or sleeping without social expectations.
—Matthew Wolf-Meyer, The Slumbering Masses
How is sleep a mediated and mediating phenomenon? When and how does sleep become recorded and knowable, shareable and communicable, by and between bodies, people, media, and between our own sleeping and waking selves? In what ways are we together in sleep? How do we know and care for ourselves and each other as sleepers? If sleep can be social, how must we alter or expand our sense of the social itself? This special issue of Intermediality on SLEEPING/DORMIR asks how (inter)media forms and practices are critical for rethinking sleep in our restless times. We are particularly interested in sociable, experiential, experimental, and critical approaches to sleep’s mediations across queer, racialized, gendered, and classed lifeworlds; and in the inequities of sleep that result from the labouring body. What kinds of un/conscious labour mediates sleep and how is this work invisibilized, manifested, derailed, celebrated, and/or complicated?
Through this issue we seek to encounter sleep across media forms that expand our shared somatic sensibilities. Sleep moves across, lingers, and expands in critical thresholds of consciousness, but also between the public and private, individual and collective, body and environment, matter and mind—all of which contribute to making sleep a site of radical vulnerability and social risk in a way that requires social forms of care, including care for the collective imaginaries of sleep. Media have been critical for representing sleep, but also for animating its challenges to capture and display. We propose that to better address the heterogeneity of sleep we must create conversations across forms and practices that question and expand the methodologies and epistemologies of sleep knowledge (Dement 1999; Kroker 2017). If cinema, for example, was already a dream machine yoking the somatic, the cinematic, and the social, how else can we identify the contagious intermedialities of sleep? If lullabies might tell us something about song, folklore, fear, and care, what do they tell us about sleep itself? From sleep apps and technologies (Mulvin 2018; O’Neill & Nansen 2019) to (stereotyped and/or inaccurate) representations of sleep conditions in both news and fiction (Kroll-Smith 2003; Williams et al. 2008; Higgins 2017); from urban and literary studies exploring the sleepless condition in the urban night (Beaumont 2015; 2020) to the rhythms and chronotopias that govern our lives (Elkouri 2016; Jeffries 2019; Trottier 2019), we are searching for novel ways to address sleep as it reverberates across human experiences day and night.
We welcome contributions from artists and researchers who have mobilized intermedial and intersectional approaches to sleep, from performance art (Bahng et al. 2020) and data visualizations (Urist 2015) to adaptive design strategies (Costanza-Chock 2020; Williamson 2020) and eclectic sleep-focused group exhibitions (Cook 2019). Across such heterogenous forms of knowledge production, we are interested less in the root (medical) causes of troubled sleep than in the lived experience and somatic time of sleep and sleepers. How can we collectively attune to sleep’s epistemologies of obscurity (Glissant 1990, Blas 2016)? How do we make sense of sleep as that most common and also unknowable of human experiences? Who is the expert of one’s sleep? What information and technology are trusted to provide information? And how can we straddle the gap between a sleeper’s personal experience and external metrics, normativities, machines, and observations? As sleep and rest become increasingly fugitive experiences in our everyday lives, in no small part due to 24/7 illumination in all corners of the world, how are media helping cultivate spaces of shared rest, restoration, and repose? Are media themselves archives and reservoirs of sleep?
As contemporary sleep media increasingly rely on the promise of immersive isolation through domestic and individualized ecologies (e.g., sleeping pods and pod hotels), we question what is lost when sleep becomes an experience closed off to others and to the environment, or when we no longer are sovereigns of our sleep. Conversely then, how do others help us make sense of our sleep and our sleeping self? How do the spatio-temporalities of sleep situate it in particular social contexts and, potentially, problematic situations? Thus, through the lens of media and intermediation, we invite contributors to open up the idea of sleep as a purely individual concern, and instead to evaluate what we might learn or gain by considering sleep and its troubles through the lens of togetherness.
This issue aims to gather contributions by researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. In addition to traditional articles, we also welcome research-creation proposals and artist contributions. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- What useful and provocative theoretical approaches for thinking about the social dimensions of sleep emerge through sleep’s intermedial forms? What do inquiries into concepts of sociality, sociability, togetherness, collectivity, etc. contribute (differently)? How might these account for what we term “sleeper subjectivity”?
- How do media practices and technologies help us understand the production and social consequences of the normativities, inequities, and invisibilities of sleep?
- What do the material and sensory cultures of sleep reveal, both here and now, but also when shifting our gaze to societies across history and geography?
- How can we think of “intermedial sleep” as crossing thresholds of consciousness, production, research, disciplines, practices, outputs, and formats to cross the in-between with the not-yet-named?
- What does it mean that we cannot meet our sleeping selves without the intermediary of devices of inscription, capture, and recording? Whether in narratives, images, or EEG data, how do we assess and engage the traces of our sleep? How might a relational and representational ethics of opacity, informatic or otherwise, emerge from experiments in sleep media?
- How have media re-conditioned sleep beyond the individual or somatic and into an expanded lifeworld of forms (slow cinema, sleep podcasts and playlists), objects and things (white noise generators, television static, blue screens), practices (bedtime rituals, office naps, dream sharing groups), and ecologies (sleep hotels, public sleeping, overnight programming)?
- What can we learn about our relationship to sleep from the media and design of places, spaces, and environments where we individually and collectively seek rest?
- What can the study of or through genre offer explorations into the sociability of sleep (e.g., the horror film, the memoir, the zine, sleep-themed podcasts or playlists)?
- How have media animated future imaginaries that consider the conditions, contexts, needs, and possibilities of sleep? How do speculations about the future account for the universal need to sleep?
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BEAUMONT, Michael. The Walker: On Losing and Finding Oneself in the Modern City. London: Verso, 2020.
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BLAS, Zach, et HABOURY Jacob. “Biometrics and Opacity: A Conversation.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 31, n° 2 (2016): 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-359251
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COSTANZA-CHOCK, Sasha. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2020.
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JEFFRIES, Stuart. “Wakey Wakey! The Artists Healing Our Sleep-Deprived World.” The Guardian, October 28, 2019, sec. Art and Design. www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/oct/28/how-to-cure-insomnia-the-artists-providing-respite-from-an-always-on-world
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MA, Jean. “Sleeping in the Cinema”. October 2021; (176): 31–52. https://doi.org/10.1162/octo_a_00425
MULVIN, Dylan. “Media Prophylaxis: Night Modes and the Politics of Preventing Harm.” Information & Culture 53, n° 2 (2018): 175–202. https://doi.org/10.7560/IC53203
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