“Sleepwalking is a motor parasomnia: a category of disorders that involve anomalous movements, strange emotions and perceptions that take place while the body is captured between wakefulness and sleep. It begins in the first part of the night and lasts on average 15 minutes, then the person returns to bed or wakes up by himself, without remembering what happened. In Viviane Sassen’s latest book, we are woken by a violent, blinding African sun, a light that turns on colours up to supersaturation or dives into shadows that are so thick as to cancel all detail. Painting and sculpture, obsessive care for tones and visual sensations, design and fashion, blend in the images that the photographer has made work be her refuge, her home. She grew up in Kenya, she feels a foreigner in her homeland, Holland. In Africa she lived as an outsider. Maybe this is why Parasomnia becomes a journey between life and dream, between light and dark, between fact and fiction. The subjects are portrayed and frozen in a condition of timeless pause, suspension, where sensory confines dilate, perceptions alter and become confused. ‘ In Africa – says Ms Sassen – the doors of my subconscious open wide and my dreams are more vivid when I’m there.’ ‘I often go searching for images that can confuse me and also others.’ Thus the traveller goes astray, he no longer knows in which dimension of expression he was led: whether constructed memories or a daily moment stolen on the street. In the image that gives the title to the series, a man is on his back, in a chair: is he sleeping? Maybe not. The chair seems to rise and float in the air imperceptibly. Is it about to fall? Maybe not. And as I watch, am I awake? The parasomnia circle comes round again. Parasomnia includes a short story by the writer Moses Isegawa. [Pamela Piscicelli]
Sybren Kuiper aka SYB independent designer since 1994. In recent years he has been a photobook designer for, among other Cuny Janssen, Niels Stomps, Rob Hornstra, Vivianne Sassen and Gijsbert Hanekroot. He also works frequently and closely with the DesignPolice photographers, and Thonik Dietwee for posters,brochures and annual reports.
His style can be characterized as an academic with many references to the analog world.