Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Todd Jurgess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Ferguson, Ph.D.


experimental music, installation art, digital video, Walter Benjamin, YouTube


This thesis positions Juha Lilja’s 2013 digital video work, Sleep, as a prime example of what the author terms an “aesthetics of cohabitation” — a newly suggested method of artistic creation set in opposition to capitalist society’s commodification of both space and time, represented here through the work of Robert Hassan and Jonathan Crary. Lilja’s eight-hour-long video work, which is accessible on YouTube, is a reimagining and re-envisioning of Andy Warhol’s film of the same name. It subverts the intended function of digital streaming platforms while using digital technology to meet aesthetic criteria in shot length and overall duration, which Warhol could not meet due to technological limitations in the 1960’s. By invoking and extending Boris Groys’s contemporary interpretation of Walter Benjamin’s concept of aura, the author argues that aura can be reconstituted in the home space through a process of cohabitating with digital works which employ a unique confluence of spatiotemporal design, experimental aesthetics, and experience of the work over long durations. In order to elucidate this process, the essay draws parallels between Lilja’s work and experimental music by Alvin Lucier, Maryanne Amacher and La Monte Young. Ultimately, the following question is posed: can sleeping during a work of art — particularly a visual work throughout which the main subject also sleeps — be considered not only a valid form of artistic appreciation, but potentially an auratic form of cohabitation that might alleviate extreme bouts of alienation brought on by ever-increasing engagement with digital apparatuses, and their projected media, during life in quarantine due to the COVID pandemic?