Artist Reads Bedtime Stories to Strangers

by Ariana Anderson

Stories were always the best part of my bedtime as a child. Thanks to my parents’ diligence I basically had Pippi Longstocking memorized before I could read, and I still get excited to take part in the bedtime ritual again by reading to my younger siblings and cousins. While I’m actually lucky enough to have a phenomenal roommate who I’ve wrangled into reading to me on a few occasions, the closest most adults come to enjoying the childhood experience again is through audiobooks. These are pleasant of course, but they lack the charm and comfort of someone watching over you as you begin to doze.

But artist Madhu Kaza is bringing the human interaction back to adults’ bedtime stories through her latest project, Here is Where We Meet. She’s begun tucking adult strangers in at night as part of her project-in-residence at Proteus Gowanus and her own ongoing Hospitality series in which she “explores social conventions, rituals of domestic and daily life, relations between strangers, hosts and guests, and boundaries of public and intimate space.” Since she began in May she’s made eight house calls (all to women, interestingly) and read to 22 people at a Proteus Gowanus event, where she’ll eventually create a display about the project. 

From the artist’s statement: “Here is Where We Meet is particularly concerned with the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep (including the drift from the world of stories to the world of dreams), a re-engagement of voice in our experience of texts, and the possibility of trust.”

Interested in a bedtime story? Kaza will arrive at your house fifteen minutes before your bedtime, read to you in a chair by your bed from a book you’ve selected, and let herself out after you’ve fallen asleep. When signing up she asks for some information on your bedtime rituals. You’re expected to provide a book for her to read, though she may bring her own options, including Here Is Where We Meet, the John Berger novel her project is titled after. 

You can sign up here for your own bedtime story here if you live in Brooklyn or nearby NY. And if you don’t, consider starting something similar wherever you live! 

Source: Brooklyn Based

Image: Picturebook

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