The Sleeping Soldier is a piece of public visual art which is funded by the Arts Council. The installation piece is to create awareness of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women during WW1. The Sleeping Soldier installation will involve the projection of hand drawn animations of 3 World War 1 servicemen and one of a waiting widow, struggling to stay awake at 4 historical sites across the South West, on the eve of remembrance 2018, Saturday 10thNovember.
The idea is to portray fallen soldiers awakening for one night to commemorate the centenary of Armistice. These soldiers stand guard sacrificing their sleep to keep watch over our sleeping cities. The installations will be projected throughout the night and as the sun rises on the dawn of Remembrance Day, they slowly fade into the rising sun. Their watch is over and they pass once more into eternal sleep to join their fallen comrades.
For Bristol Cathedral the projection the piece will depict a fallen WW1 soldier facing east waiting for the rising sun. By using the cathedral, the idea is to draw the audience’s attention to the contrast with the eternal sleep of the soldiers who are commemorated within.
The hand drawn animations with pencil-sketched imagery give an ethereal feel: The way in which each frame is drawn and shaded makes the final animation flicker and jump, reinforcing the idea that these figures are in transition between two worlds and have only awoken for one night to find those they have lost. The imagery suggests the sacrifice of the common soldier, women and families. It uses the sacrifice of sleep and the struggle to stay awake as a metaphor for the sacrifices all servicemen and women make during war.
The installations simply show the movement of these figures breathing. This limited movement gives the observer the question: are they sleeping just about to wake, or struggling to stay awake and about to slip into slumber. The audience watches waiting with anticipation, almost reflecting the figures themselves, watching, and waiting for the unexpected.