By Alberto Araujo
My artwork revolves around a bed I made out of recycled 2x4s, half of a Jacuzzi top cover, and speakers. The headboard is made out of the top half of a vanity set with a mirror I sanded so when the viewer walks around the piece they can view inside the person’s “head” in a way. The footboard made out of an old bar cabinet signifies the storage of our memories. On top of the cabinet is a sand blasted Plexiglas with the title REM Sleep. I made a human figure out of old ironing boards. The figure is sleeping on top of the bed half covered with blankets as if he is sleeping wild. His head which is an old tube television set with bunny ears will be displaying the videos I have been recording of the workers who have participated in this community based art work. The workers are talking about their dreams, nightmares, and day-to-day lives. With these videos, I created 6 sand blasted pieces of art out of recycled glass picture frames from Last Chance Mercantile and LED light strips which represent each of the individuals I recorded. I sanded and cleaned up old recycled accordion closet doors from the VPA Department at CSUMB. These doors are connected to the headboard circling around the bed to create a more enclosed room-like feeling as if the viewer is going into the metal figure (person's) room/ personal space/ brain. And in this room I also placed a 10x10 piece of black carpet, upon which the bed would be displayed while exhibited at Last Chance Mercantile. The sand blasted picture frames are displayed in the footboard cabinet (this represents the “filing” section of the brain) and the inside of the doors. The whole piece is covered on the top with black construction paper being supported by electrical cords and LED lights connecting the doors together. Besides being a barrier to the outside, through the use of LED lights and sand blasted images the doors represent the neurons in the brain firing messages while the person is in a REM sleep state (Rapid Eye Movement). The speakers are used as the bed’s footing but also to play the video and audio components. The audio track I recorded includes sounds from the machinery at the Mercantile and the Recovery Facility (MERF).
Overall the piece REM Sleep is a recycled material community art piece that brings discussion about REM Sleep and just how important it is for everyone to reach that point of the sleep cycle to better improve their lives mentally and physically. It also visually represents the ways that we as humans have drifted away from the body (human figure) and the storytelling of our dreams within a community, moving into this age of metal (metal human figure). In the current era we either keep our dreams to ourselves enclosed from the outside world not making connections within our communities or we post it on the social media or public media (television), just craving a response from someone out there. We are looking from within without physical human interaction from others. I have an instagram account (@albertoAraujo2016) created to show the creative process throughout the experience of building REM Sleep.