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Adam Milner’s documentation of sleep and waking

photos + introduction: Adam Milner      additional writing: Tiffany Diane Tso

Adam Milner is an artist from Denver, whose work often echoes a motif of sleep. From interactive project Come Spend The Night With Me, to digitally capturing Empty(?) Rooms in chat rooms, to Painted Pillows and documenting his body's movements as he sleeps alone, Milner is becoming not only an artist but also a cultural anthropologist on matters of the bedroom. Though Milner's work covers a wide array of topics, all dealing with the human condition (but what art doesn't?), his apparent obsession with the bedroom and sleep struck a chord. What drives him to photograph these beds? Is it his love of sleep, of dreams?

"The series of bed photographs began one morning when I was getting out of bed and was suddenly struck by the form the sheets and blankets had taken. There was clearly an absence of the body, but a very present absence – the bed almost looked warm from my recent presence, the down blanket forming a sort of cave that remained after I had removed myself. In all actuality, I made the photograph that morning as a reference for a sculpture. As I continued photographing day after day to study the drapery, I found a narrative emerging: it was apparent when I had slept in late, when I had crashed working on a project, or when I had tossed and turned all night. Reprogramming my life to include this new routine – photographing the bed each morning immediately after waking up – I found I was creating an archive, a deeply personal document of my life."

"My interest in the bed, sleep and bedrooms is part of a larger investigation of personal space and private, intimate moments. Usually, my work presents documents from personal parts of my life and is often rooted in an ongoing routine or ritual that becomes a part of my everyday life. Projects like photographing my bed every morning, making drawings that document my body’s movement as I drift off to sleep, turning my pillows into oil paintings when they become tattered and old, and mailing my dreams to people via postcard every morning are examples that define my practice."

"In the series included here, I present selections based on images that have pricked me as I sift through the vast archive (now over a thousand images large). Each of these images document a moment that was somehow deeply meaningful and profound to me – whether it marks a breakup, an epiphany, or some other shift, I offer the viewer a deeply personal glimpse into my private life while still withholding so much. There is often that tension for me: I want to be vulnerable, but not too much."