Always let sleeping giants lie — even on the sides of buildings

An image projected on a building as part of Projection Napping.

An image projected on a building as part of Projection Napping.

Courtesy of Dawn of Man

We're used to feeling small in a world of gargantuan billboards plastered across skyscrapers. The towering models in corporate ads may be photographed in high definition, but they rarely feel alive. In fact, it's pretty easy to ignore them while hustling through the maze of city streets. 

Enter J R Skola and the art collective Dawn of Man. The group filmed models sleeping in front of green screens and then projects them onto the side of buildings as part of a project called Projection Napping. The effect is surprisingly beautiful and hypnotic. The group wants to show that in the midst of restless energy, there is another way to be.  

The project harks back to other iconic works, like Andy Warhol's 1963 film Sleep — where he filmed a man sleeping for over five hours — and Winsor McCay's surreal comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland." For all these artists, there's something subversive about taking leave of our waking lives and giving ourselves over to sleep.

Projection Napping is a slight change of pace for Dawn of Man, which first became known for creating a call to action for Occupy Wall Street. Their 99% "Bat Signal" even spawned a spin-off group called The Illuminator, chronicled in this WNYC story, which projected signs protesting the abuse of workers in Dubai and a plan to radically revamp the New York Public Library. 

You can see more videos and images of napping giants on Dawn of Man's Facebook page.

This story is based on a blog post from PRI's Sideshow with Sean Rameswaram, a podcast from PRI's SoundWorks network.