About Sleep in the City

The artwork

Volunteers from Aarhus are asked to take videos during the day of their favorite place in Aarhus. Other volunteers are asked to participate in a sleep performance. Virgile Novarina will accompany volunteer sleepers in the project by sleeping publicly in seven different places. He will perform for example in city museums, and Aarhus city lab, just to name a few, and during the performance he will be wearing a headband measuring his five main brainwaves. Four other volunteers from Aarhus will sleep wearing the EEG headbands in their homes. There will be 4 new volunteers for every night of the seven night-long performance, making a total of 28 volunteer sleepers.

The interactive video installation conceived by Walid Breidi will include big screens in the city. People who are strolling or driving by the screens will see videos of their town, transformed by the smart sleepers’ brain waves combined with smart city data thus creating a dream-like atmosphere. These videos are a mash-up of filming material of Aarhus during the day, filmed by its citizens.

The artists

Virgile Novarina

After studying Mathematics and Physics, Virgile Novarina (born in France in 1976) devoted himself to the artistic exploration of his own sleep through writings and drawings, and the sleep of others through photographs and films. He has published seven books of Night’s Writings and Drawings, and has exhibited his work in Europe and the United States. Since 2006 the very act of sleeping has become an integral part of his work with the “En Somme” series of performances, during which he sleeps publicly in shop windows, galleries or museums.


Walid Breidi

Walid Breidi is a digital artist whose work is mainly concentrated on the question of artist-spectator relationship and narrativity through spontaneous gestural interactivity. He combines multiple artistic representations based on digital techniques. During his career, he has always mixed artistic practice and teaching in universities and art schools. His performances and installations have been shown internationally in, Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia.


The technology

"Sleep in the City" uses digital and IoT technology, combining the sensors in Aarhus’ Smart City Lab with sleep data and video art. 
The sensors in Aarhus measure air quality, traffic, noise and light. Those parameters have an impact on sleep quality.


The partnership

ITK Culture and Citizens’ service in Aarhus wrote the application for the Vertigo initiative and the concept idea describing Sleep in the city created by the artists Walid Breidi and Virgile Novarina, was chosen among a handful of applicants.


The collaboration is financed by the EU STARTS Residencies Program - Science Technology and ARTS - and Aarhus Municipality.


Visit EU STARTS at: https://vertigo.starts.eu/

Visit Aarhus Municipality, ITK, at: https://dokk1.dk/english