Sleepers by Ruth Patir
16:10 min, 2017
This video is no longer available for viewing. It was presented from April 1-30, 2023 as part of the video art screening program Dancing on Tec(h)tonic Plates.
About the Work
The materials constituting Sleepers were originally gathered by American writer Sheila Heti, who asked people to send her their dreams about politicians—especially those involving former president Barack Obama. In response, Patir disclosed her own dream in which president Obama revealed his passion for pottery. Expanding Heti’s collection, Patir invites individuals to partake in a dream workshop. In the film, a group of amateur dream enthusiasts meets in St. Marks Church in the Lower East Side of New York City for the workshop, where they share their dreamy visions and the feelings that they elicit. As they share stories of desire and confusion, their dreams turn from personal to collective.
Inspired by Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Sleepers frames the dreams within a regime of meanings that forces a certain hierarchy on the symbols that they contain. As such, it raises questions about the existence of political and semiotic systems that structure our personal and public relations, and explores civilians' relationships with their leaders.
New Media artist Ruth Patir fuses documentary with computer-generated imagery in a quest to expand the possibilities of realism. Patir’s works often begin with the artist’s autobiography, and gradually open up to address larger societal issues, such as the politics of gender, technology, and the hidden mechanisms of power. Patir received her MFA in New Genres from Columbia University in New York (2015) and her BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (2011). Her recent solo show, titled "My Father in the Clouds" (2022), was presented at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. In this project, the artist confronts her personal relationship to technology through the grief over her father’s passing. Her 3D animation, “Love Letters to Ruth” (2018), was presented at Hamidrasha Gallery - Hayarkon 19 in Tel Aviv. Her film, "Sleepers" (2017), before winning the Video and Experimental Cinema and Video Art Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival, was shown at Danspace Project in New York on former president Trump's inaugural day in office. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, the Anthology Film Archive in New York, the Flux Factory in New York, and more. Patir’s work is part of institutional collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv. She is represented by Braverman Gallery in Tel Aviv.