Ever since I heard about Tilda Swinton’s performance art piece “The Maybe”, which involves her sleeping in a glass box “on top of a mattress, with just her glasses and a carafe of water” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I’ve been wondering: why does she need her glasses? She’s just going to sleep, and maybe drink some water. She’s not even going to pour the water into a glass. She doesn’t have a book or a wristwatch, so she won’t be reading or checking the time. It’s possible that she’ll need her glasses when she leaves the box, but if that’s the reason, why doesn’t she also have keys, money, credit cards, and/or a phone?
I’m currently putting together a proposal for a follow-on art installation that’s similar to “The Maybe” with a few key differences:
Instead of Tilda Swinton sleeping in the box, it will be me.
My cats will also be in the box. Unless they get bored, in which case they’ll need to be let out of the box, and then let in again when and if they want to return. It would probably be easiest just to install a cat door on the box. I’ll also need a couple cat wranglers to keep an eye on the cats and make sure they don’t leave the museum.
I can’t just lie down and fall asleep. I need to read for a while. I’ll need my Kindle in the box.
Seffie won’t let me go to sleep unless I play with her with the laser pointer first. So I’ll also need a laser pointer. I realize this isn’t ideal, but it’s unavoidable.
I usually run the dishwasher right before going to bed. I’ll need to hear dishwasher sounds each day until I fall asleep. If installing a dishwasher on the museum floor turns out to be impractical, I might be able to get by with recorded dishwasher sounds, as long as they’re realistic enough and MOMA sends someone to my house to wash my dishes.
Instead of a carafe of water (which I assume is an open container, although I can’t find any pictures of Ms. Swinton’s carafe), I’ll need a bottle that closes; I’m concerned that if I have an open carafe in a small space, I might roll over in my sleep and spill it. Also my cats would probably drink out of it. You’ll notice I’m not insisting on a glass. I’m willing to rough it for the sake of my art.
I’ll need my cell phone. I’m not planning on making any calls, but I can use it to check the time or tweet about any unusual dreams I might have. Also, I plan to use it as an alarm clock. I don’t want to oversleep and get locked into the museum overnight. And I hate to sound overly mercenary, but if I’m being paid to sleep for seven hours, I don’t see why I should spend any extra time sleeping for free.
Some of these requests will take a bit of work on MOMA’s part, but I’m sure they can accommodate me. At least I’m not demanding to have my glasses in the box with me. That would be unreasonable.