A serene, immersive film environment where falling asleep is allowed: that’s one way to describe Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, a unique one-off project during IFFR 2018. During the first week of the festival, the Staal room in the Postillion Convention Centre WTC Rotterdam will be converted into an immersive film experience that functions as a temporary hotel. In this dormitory – beds, hammocks, showers and breakfast included – hypnagogic images will be projected around the clock. Guests who stay overnight and daytime visitors alike are transported to Weerasethakul’s preferred plane of existence: one where sleep and film, ghosts and imagination, the past and the present collide.
From Thursday 25 until Tuesday 30 January, a number of guests undoubtedly have the best beds in town. Thai filmmaker and Palme d’Or winner Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Cemetery of Splendour) has said several times that he doesn’t mind people falling asleep during his films, but never before has he designed a work so exclusively for this purpose. The projected images of sleeping animals, sleeping humans, clouds and water stir the imagination enough during waking hours, but Weerasethakul believes they can also seep into our unconscious minds while we’re asleep. The projection doesn’t loop; you won’t see the same image twice throughout the entire period of the installation, making each moment spent there unique. To find the immense amount of archive material used, Weerasethakul collaborated with EYE Filmmuseum and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL will also be open to the non-sleeping public for a few hours from 16:00 hours onward every day. The starting date for hotel reservations will be announced shortly.
Programmer Edwin Carels emphasises the long history Weerasethakul has with IFFR. “In 1998 Weerasethakul received a grant from the Hubert Bals Fund for his film Mysterious Object at Noon, and since then IFFR has supported, screened and hosted Weerasethakul many times. We’re honoured that he specifically chose IFFR for SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, truly a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Weerasethakul is part of the first edition of Frameworks, IFFR’s new platform for audio-visual art. Each year the festival invites two renowned visual artists to propose several emerging talents deserving of a larger audience. A jury then selects two Grant Award Winners (referred to as ‘Acolytes’), who each receive a grant of €10,000 to finish a single-screen audio-visual artwork which will premiere at IFFR. This year, Weerasethakul introduces Acolyte Pathompon Tesprateep, a filmmaker based in Bangkok.
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Photo in header: Power Boy (Evening) - Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2011