Deborah Cornell

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THE SLEEP OF REASON                           
The Sleep of Reason: A Cautionary Tale suggests the dangers of the journey into the unknown territory of genetics, with its unparalleled capacity to manipulate nature on the cellular level. The cautions refer to our potential for changing the foundation of the natural world, by the unraveling of DNA and its subsequent genetic anomalies, in a way which supersedes even the eons represented by the Burgess Shale.  The title is from an etching by Goya, from his Caprichos of 1799. In it, strange, monstrous forms appear out of nowhere, as the dreamer's "reason" is suspended in sleep. Natural forms like the human hand, a withered fern, jellyfish, or the significant predictability of a snake's coils are connected to scientific instruments and reflections from cultural texts. The sounds encircle the space, in an extended experience. In Richard Cornell's audio, sound gathered from field and studio recordings is filtered to reveal aspects beyond the scope of natural hearing. Sources include local crickets, the tree frog (Hyla versicolor), and the echo location signals of the silverhaired bat (Pipistrella). This presentation was at Hafnarfjordur Museum in Iceland, 2005.
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