The Subjects: Storytelling in Extreme Environments

Writers and artists are experts at imagining and creating the lives and worlds of others – but what happens when the tables are turned and they themselves become The Subjects?


 As part its 25th anniversary celebrations, the Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) presented The Subjects – an experimental and experiential arts project.

Acclaimed author, Sean Williams, was joined by artists Thom Buchanan and Fee Plumley and writer Jennifer Mills for a week-long residency at the Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University’s Adelaide-based sleep research centre.

Isolated from contact with the outside world, The Subjects experienced severely disrupted sleep patterns, loss of subjective control and constant surveillance. Each day – or was it night? – they produced creative accounts of their experience. These were posted to the project blog, enabling those of us on the outside to respond directly with comments and questions.

The Subjects were joined by The Scientist, Professor Drew Dawson, in a special panel discussion for Adelaide Writers’ Week.

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