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Z’s by the C: Public napping project hits Toronto

July 14th, 2010 · No Comments

Artists Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton are turning parks into bedrooms. Courtesy The Theatre Centre

By Brendan Hair

On July 17 and 18 The Theatre Centre in partnership with Cooking Fire Theatre Festival will be presenting a public napping project called Z’s by the C.

At this event residents can craft their own sleeping mask and have a sweet dream or catch up on lost sleep from the hectic work week.

The project, founded by artists Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton in 2008, began in Calgary when anti-loitering bylaws were passed. According to Moschopedis, the bylaw restricted the amount of time people could spend in parks without a specific purpose and prohibited feet resting on benches. Eventually these laws led to public napping becoming illegal.

Since then, Moschopedis and Rushton have used this project as way to protest the privatizations of public space.

He believes public sleeping is viewed by many socially unacceptable behaviour. According to Moschopedis, public sleeping is often seen as threatening behaviour. And since it’s usually a private activity, Moschopedis sees this project as one that’s “transgressing social norms.”

Theatre Centre Director Franco Boni previously participated in the project at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa.

“I’m looking at it as a performance piece but I’m also looking at it as a community event because that’s what this kind of work can do,” said Boni.

Moschopedis believes that as a community, if we’re not acting in a genuine manner then we’ve lost our grip on public space.

“I think that’s the risk,” said Moschopedis.

Moschopedis believes dreams differ depending where you sleep. To him dreams are a site-specific activity.

“When you’re in your bedroom you have [a] certain type of dream and when you move to a different environment [like] a hotel or camping your dreams change.”

Besides Calgary and Ottawa, the project has stopped in New York and Zurich. But what makes Moschopedis excited about Toronto is the event’s setting at the proposed Lisgar Park. While the site is currently just a parking lot with sod, Moschopedis believes it suits the concept of this project.

“People can come to this park and dream what might be possible [and] what this new public space [might] look like.”

Tags: Arts · General