A Space Providing Narrative Potentiality

The Bedside


Ali Ardalan, Angelos Chiotis, Kibandu Pello-Esso, Sebastian Moske

The bed exists both as part of and apart from everyday structures; as a space to interact with playful moments, fantasy, and imagination. It is the space created for a child on playgrounds with other kids; in someone’s backyard; on the streets; or provided in the evening by bedtime stories. The bed could be seen as the only space left where rest is not monetized, but the possibility of this space itself follows the same capital logic as anything else. Rest is the recreation of a workforce. Yet, the bedtime-story possibility – the moment of someone telling you a story on your way to sleep – is a moment of letting go and following. It is usually provided by parents to their children as a relaxing moment before sleep, connecting the child to their home, their own space, and the possibilities around them.

The bed allows for being in between virtuality and actuality, enabling the child to imagine and connect experiences and desires, and translate them to the parents. Hospitality plays an important part in this shared moment of telling before resting. But these spaces – these shared moments of openness – are not usually promoted and are seen as private achievements rather than social possibilities of arriving and resting with each other. In the capitalist logic of a world where things should be worth the time and energy spent with them, and where people are good when they don’t slow down one’s achievement process, the openness of telling without achieving is not thought of as productive.

For adults, several places offer a sense of leisure time, forgetfulness, imagination, and escapism, but these places are most often monetized and thought of as recreational time in preparation for work. How, by working with the atmosphere enabled by bedtime stories, do we challenge western dichotomies of public/ private, nature/culture; and by doing so, provide reflective sites that produce counter-narratives to our current onto/epistemological matrix?

We are thinking about a site we know of but are missing in the neoliberal society; a place of rest as a collective social experience, the hospitality of providing each other with this space, and the possibilities presented to each other out of this moment of hospitality. Our site is, therefore, “the bed” as a point of reference and a tool for us to investigate spaces of collective possibility without the idea of immediate results: are there places like this? What do they look like?