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Sleep (1964)

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Footage of John Giorno sleeping for five hours.


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Cast overview:
John Giorno ...


Footage of John Giorno sleeping for five hours.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

17 January 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El sueño  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The film was shot on Memorial Day weekend in 1963 in the apartment of poet John Giorno, Andy Warhol's lover at the time. Giorno woke up to find Warhol watching him sleep and Warhol asked him if he'd like to be a movie star. See more »


Referenced in Warhol's Cinema 1963-1968: Mirror for the Sixties (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

The Semiotics of Andy Warhol
6 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The act of sleeping is not art - at least not for the one who is actually sleeping. But if this subjective process has an observer, it gets objective. The subject of the observer turns the subjective process of sleeping into an objective one. Moreover, this objectification works only because the observer is capable of observing. Observing is a form of interpretation, because we cannot perceive our world without using the filters of our senses. So, what we see when we watch a sleeping person (or a person sleeping, which is not the same), is by no means what he is actually doing, since our senses belong to us, and we cannot see with the eyes of the sleeper.

However, interpretation transforms the objective process (the former subjective process from the perspective of the sleeper) into a sign process. Since as observers we cannot perceive our world without our senses, these senses turn objects into signs. According to Sign Theory (Semiotics) of Charles Sanders Peirce, objects of arts are signs and the sign class of objects of arts hangs together with every other sign class, so that the semiotic universe is connected. Now, if by observing we interpret and by interpreting we transform an object into a sign, it follows that this sign class must be connected with the sign class that is reserved for artistic objects. From that, it follows by logic that also the process of sleeping is a form of art - qua sign processes. Actually, it even follows that everything that we observe is a form of art and that we live not primarily in a physical, but in an artistic universe. Andy Warhol's movies with such - at first sight - banal titles like "Haircut", "Blow Job", "Chelsea Girls " or "Sleep" (1963) are testimonies of a theory of semiotics which is far away from being banal.

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