The Subjects

And now for something completely different…

For a week in February (9th-16th), I will be one of “The Subjects” in an experiment investigating the impact of disruptive sleep patterns on creativity.


During “the protocol” we will be required to produce a piece of creative work daily and, at the completion of the experiment, a larger work made individually or in groups addressing the theme ‘Storytelling in Extreme Environments’.


There will be a panel talk during Writers’ Week at the 2013 Adelaide Festival where we will present our outcomes. For more on the residency as we undertake our challenges, read the project blog

I’ve never been one for reality TV shows, but I have always been one for disrupted sleep patterns. Having worked with ANAT for several years I’m generally up to speed with their projects. When this one came up I thought “oooh, that sounds interesting” even more than usual. And this time I knew I could actually apply as an artist for a change. I then – as you do – got distracted and almost forgot the deadline. Until I had a dream which reminded me. The below story, pasted verbatim, was my subsequent proposal which should give you an insight into why I’m doing this. (Why they chose me as a participant, however, I can’t answer!).

Unfortunately the timing on this got pushed back so what was going to be a nice little creative segue before Christmas (& before #rbrtOZ got underway) has now become somewhat cramped into an already tight schedule. The next few months include Mini Maker Faire Adelaide (which I’m working on) and Byron Bay Bluesfest (which was going to be my first time, but I think will now sadly have to be sacrificed in the name of ‘art’…) plus a couple of other things that are still under embargo – crazy times!

Still – this isn’t a directly-related reallybigroadtrip project but it will have me completely offline and out of reach for seven days from Feb 9th-16th. During that time if you need to contact me urgently for anything (providing it isn’t an RT, update to a blog post or anything that requires being anywhere near a device that tells the time) you can contact the residency organisers on 08 8378 4523 or 0425 137 532.

Turn the lens on yourself, become your own subject; experience total surveillance and authoritarianism in a controlled environment” they said. “OK”, I said.

This’ll be interesting…



The Subjects ANAT Sleep Residency 2012

To sleep, perchance to stream

*stands up* *straightens dress* *clears throat* *smiles, awkwardly*

Good Morning. My name is Fee Plumley and I am a technoevangelist. I have used this ‘career choice’ as an excuse, a cover to conceal my addiction, for nearly seventeen years now. It’s time that I was honest with everyone – and myself – and admit that… I Have A Problem.

I go online via whatever internet-enabled device is closest to hand at that moment. I’m not fussy; I’ll even use an iPhone if my Android isn’t nearby.

I rarely sleep, the mobile screen glaring against my eyes in the dark as I curl up in bed pretending to rest. On a good night I may steal an hour or two of erratic REM cycle, infused with vivid and complex dreams that reflect the madness of my soul.

On waking, the first thing I grab is my phone. Not to call for help, I rarely use the telephone for its original purpose. No, my dependency cycle starts with email (because it takes longer to download), then twitter, then facebook (my profile and my page), then back to email (which by then is ready for me). More recently I have added Instagram to this list – it posts to five platforms now, you know!

At that point any normal person would sensibly put down the device and proceed with their morning ablutions (assuming coffee and a wee hadn’t already started their day). My morning ritual sees me simply, and without pause, to return to the start of the cycle. Perhaps another tweet has come in. Perhaps there is a follow-up to the comment I just posted on facebook. Oh and I really should reply to the email I received at 4am when I was too embarrassed to admit I was still awake.

Awake and online. Because no one must know, no one can ever know that it is this bad. I would be Letting The Internet Down. The Internet relies on me to spread the word of geek, to share my life with the world at all times. It is my destiny. I must obey its demands, fulfil its hunger for stories, searches, memes, viral explosions of political scandal and… *holds head in shame* … lolcats.

This morning I awoke from another insomniac dream. This time I had shaved my head. Grade 0.

They were rechargeable clippers & the battery kept running out. I was wandering round with long/short/dark/coloured bits for a while. I woke up wondering what it meant, if it was true… and, as my hand reached up to my multicoloured locks, I realised once and for all… that this has to stop.

It was at that moment that I remembered the sleep residency. Can you help me?

*sits* *grabs phone* …



… *sends*

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