24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world

24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world

A group exhibition currently showing at Somerset House presents artworks which explore time pressure - the drive to produce, consume and achieve around the clock. It presents works by acclaimed artists including Mat Collishaw, Alan Warburton and Lawrence Lek.

24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world takes visitors on a journey through 24 hours from sunrise to sunset. The works on display arranged into sections focusing on different aspects of sleep: Day and Night, Activity and Rest, The Human and the Machine, Work and Leisure, The Individual and the Collective.

The exhibition is inspired by the book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by Jonathan Crary, which examines sleeplessness in modern society. It documents neoliberalism’s efforts to minimise sleep in order to work more, spend more, consume more and possibly live longer. Sleep is transformed by late capitalism from a restorative necessity to a hindrance. 

Mat Collishaw, The Machine Zone 00-01, 2019. Image credit: Stephen Chung for Somerset House.

24/7 at Somerset House looks at how this change in mindset has influenced daily life, philosophy, work and art. The works on display look at hyperproductivity, smartphone addiction, the commodification of sleep, and techniques for the measurement of time. The artists examine workplaces adapted for workers to sleep between shifts, the endless wakefulness of cities and circuit boards, and the experience of insomnia, which is no doubt inevitable in such conditions.

24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world features works by Pivli Takala, Mat Collishaw, Marcus Coates, Kelly Richardson, Douglas Coupland, Kimchi and Chips, Harun Farocki, Kateřina Šedá, Susan Hiller, Alan Warburton, Katie Paterson, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Lawrence Lek, Ed Fornieles and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg


24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world is at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA until 23 February 2020.

Top image: Alan Warburton, Sprites I - IV, 2016