A global, strategic evaluation of the social forces comprising the society of the spectacle. It is conceived from the view that, if individuals are to gain control over their lives, the world of hierarchical power must be destroyed.
Call It Sleep is the first visual work produced in the United States which makes use of the situationist technique of detournement – the devaluation and reuse of present and past cultural production to form a superior theoretical and practical unity.
Call It Sleep is based on material drawn from the most prevalent means of social conditioning- television-for two reasons. Familiar images easily acquire a strong negative charge when linked with a subversive content. Using images and techniques available to everyone has demonstrated once and for all, that detournement is within reach of anyone with a few basic appliances and the ability to communicate radical ideas.
Some people who see Call It Sleep are only interested to know if copyright permissions have been obtained from the producers of the various images in the tape. These “courageous souls” think that a disrespect for cultural and social conventions should begin after property rights have been observed. No doubt many of these people have already produced or dream of producing an artifact which they want protected by the state.
Others want to discover what special techniques or tricks of the trade are behind Call It Sleep and they may be disappointed because no sophisticated technical expertise was involved. The singularity of Call It Sleep comes not from the novel use of equipment, but from the practical application of a radical perspective on daily life.
Call It Sleep was completed in May of 1982. It was financed solely by its makers.
“One can only empathise with individuals, motivated by a sincere desire for reform, who join ecology groups, consumer organisations and alternative political parties. In any of these groups these individuals are directed by a firmly entrenched leadership through a maze of politically motivated compromises to an end that is sadly predictable: the indefinite postponement of profound social transformation, the enrichment of the careers of a few bureaucrats and the permanent disillusion of a number of intelligent individuals.”