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A Frick sleep data installation began at Yaddo last year and was expanded to 100 ft and reinstalled for the Texas Biennial at Box13 Artspace in Houston this year. (all images courtesy the artist)

Laurie Frick has been delving deep into sleep, in fact she uses the data to create art works and installations that incorporate the abstractions that emerge from sleep monitoring and she creates rhythmic abstractions that feel sprawling and musical. The project is called Quantifying-me.

Laurie Frick

“All the good stuff happens while you sleep. If you’re sick, you heal. You build procedural memory, grow taller, resolve conflict, reorder and organize long-term memory,” she says about her attraction to the time we all dip into lala land.

“I’ve been measuring my nightly sleep using an EEG headband for over a year, and there is a definite pattern to the brainwaves, with much more activity than you’d imagine. It’s ragged with shorter bursts of deep sleep and REM sleep than I thought. I wake up a lot. It’s weirdly comforting and reaffirming to receive a sleep score everyday. This morning I got a 73, for me it’s about a B+,” she says about the research she is conducting on herself.

She’s interested in sleep as one more method of self-tracking that she believes we will all do in the future as a way to ambiently measure our patterns and behaviors. “What if walls could produce ambient patterns of how we’re doing, where we subtly adjust behavior in response to those measurements,” she asks.

She’s transforming these scores and data into physical representations. “Believing in a connection between visual pattern and brain rhythm, I’ve set out to map a language to convey self-quantifying metrics. Numbers are abstract concepts, but our brains recognize pattern intuitively. I’m working on the vocabulary and grammar of pattern for self-tracking that’s more visceral and direct. It’s work in progress, and harder than it sounds,” she says.

One of the graphic representations created by Laurie Frick from sleep data

Join us on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30pm at Hyperallergic HQ (181 N11th Street, Suite #302), where she will discuss her evolving project, the ideas that form the foundation of her art and the work she has created so far. Tickets at $5 and include light refreshments. You can purchase your tickets here:

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.