On 27th April, 1pm CEST, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be delivering a META lecture at Politecnico di Milano titled “Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis“. Full details here, abstract of the lecture below.
We are in a sleep crisis: sleep disorders are on the rise and people are sleeping less and less, with disastrous effects on health. Or at least, this is what some studies claim, incessantly amplified by the media. In fact, sleep scientists are divided on whether or not our society is suffering from this crisis of poor sleep. Yet the discourse of contemporary society as profoundly sleep-deprived dominates cultural production. Why have insomnia, burnout, and exhaustion become the main lenses through which we think about sleep in our present? Considering a range of examples from twenty-first-century literature, visual arts, popular and digital culture, this lecture explores the ambiguous role of technologies in the discourse of the sleep crisis: how they are blamed for this supposed public health emergency and, at once, positioned as a possible solution to the crisis. I argue that technologies, and their representations in contemporary culture, illuminate a nexus of concerns, affects, and imperatives that underlie the discourse of the sleep crisis.