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USO care package, which includes a February 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest.
The Six Best Secret Gardens of NYC

All photos courtesy Rebekah Burgess Abramovich. Secret Gardens!!!

Flashback to orientation day of 2012, ICP-Bard Class of 2014. 

When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies that sleep in humans and other animals is just a kind of low-power standby mode. (Do computers dream of electric sleep?) Last year, Apple announced a twist on this idea: a new feature for the Mac operating system called “Power Nap”. Using Power Nap, your computer can do important things even while asleep, receiving updates and performing backups.

The name Power Nap comes from the term describing the thrusting executive’s purported ability to catch a restorative forty winks in 20 minutes but the functioning of Apple’s feature symbolically implies a yet more ultra-modern and frankly inhuman aspiration: to be “productive” even while dozing. It is the uncanny technological embodiment of the dream most blatantly sold to us by those work-from-home scams online, which promise that you can “make money even while you sleep”.

Sleep, indeed, is a standing affront to capitalism. That is the argument of Jonathan Crary’s provocative and fascinating essay, which takes “24/7” as a spectral umbrella term for round-the-clock consumption and production in today’s world. The human power nap is a macho response to what Crary notes is the alarming shrinkage of sleep in modernity. “The average North American adult now sleeps approximately six and a half hours a night,” he observes, which is “an erosion from eight hours a generation ago” and “ten hours in the early 20th century”.

Back in 1996, Stanley Coren’s book Sleep Thieves blamed insufficient rest for industrial disasters such as the Chernobyl meltdown. Crary is worried about the encroachment on sleep because it represents one of the last remaining zones of dissidence, of anti-productivity and even of solidarity. Isn’t it quite disgusting that, as he notices, public benches are now deliberately engineered to prevent human beings from sleeping on them?

While Apple-branded machines that take working Power Naps are figured as a more efficient species of people, people themselves are increasingly represented as apparatuses to be acted on by machines. Take the popular internet parlance of getting “eyeballs”, which means reaching an audience. “The term ‘eyeballs’ for the site of control,” Crary writes, “repositions human vision as a motor activity that can be subjected to external direction or stimuli … The eye is dislodged from the realm of optics and made into an intermediary element of a circuit whose end result is always a motor response of the body to electronic solicitation.”

You can’t get more “eyeballs” if the people to whose brains the eyeballs are physically connected are asleep. Hence the interest – currently military; before long surely commercial, too – in removing our need for sleep with drugs or other modifications. Then we would be more like efficient machines, able to “interact” with (or labour among) electronic media all day and all night. (It is strange, once you think about it, that the phrase “He’s a machine” is now supposed to be a compliment in the sporting arena and the workplace.)

"24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep" by Jonathan Crary: Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism | New Statesman (via new-aesthetic)

(via new-aesthetic)



 by o.diaries on Flickr.
Piotr Obal

No one captured Harlem like James Van Der Zee. When you say Harlem the ghosts of yesterday still live in the hearts and minds of many. Conjuring this iconic image of a glamourous couple in raccoon coats, flossin beside their Cadillac. Upward moblility and the intellgencia grows out of the cracks between the concrete. Where even the street people debate politics, while the sounds of ole rhythm and blues oozes out of establishments on to the sidewalk. -Nona Photo, James Van Der Zee, 1932

Paul Robeson dans le rôle de l’empereur Jones par Edward Steichen, 1933.

“Whose little boy are you?” ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Photo: “The young colored American”, from The Colored American magazine, October 1900. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
Found via google search of “walking a cat”

©Nona Faustine 2014
The MET, 84th Street