Parasomnia: Sleep against Capitalism

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Parasomnia (2019), a site-specific participatory performance by Patrícia Portela (PT/BE), addresses sleep in its biological and cultural meanings while retrieving its historicity. Sleep is one of the last resistance gestures against capitalised lives, opening a gap for social change through the aesthetic dimension as an extension of arts in politics. Parasomnia raises awareness for empathy and unproductiveness by inviting spectators to take a massage and eating delicacies. Bodily senses are therefore a way to activate potentials and becomings. Often understood as weaknesses and vulnerabilities, the actions elicited—contemplating, caring, and resting—bring up a strength and a capacity to arouse the imagination and fabulation as political acts. It is also argued that dimensions such as fantasmatic, cyclicity, and subjectivity are key social outputs of Parasomnia. Allowing for a pause in a continuous stream of goals, of connectivity and consumption, and without commodification purposes, sleep may return us to a sense of our own interiority made of several layers: like a fall into the sleep that enables alterity to emerge inside the self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Performance
  • Sleep
  • Capitalism
  • Unproductiveness
  • Fantasmatic;
  • Subjectivity


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