Catching Sleepers


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What started off as a passing curiosity to alleviate the monotony of my long daily commute soon developed into a year long ‘lite’ anthropological study on the behavior of ‘sleepers’ on public transport. Through this study I have been looking at identifying the traits, behaviors and patterns of sleepers. What similarities could be found in the type of person that makes a ‘sleeper’? As well as the pros & cons of different sleeping methods and tactics.

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Catching Sleepers

  1. 1. Presenting: Catching Sleepers INTERESTING NORTH 13th November 2010 E: T: @olishaw W olishaw.comHi  Im  olishaw,  I’m  talking  about  a  study  I’ve  been  doing  over  the  last  12  months
  2. 2. What is ‘catching sleepers’ ? “The art of noticing and capturing a person sleeping in public”So  what  is  catching  sleepers?  Put  simply  its  the  art  of  documenBng  someone  asleep  in  a  public  place,  I  came  to  think  of  it  a  bit  like  wildlife  photography,  where  you  enter  into  the  subjects  habitat  and  document  them
  3. 3. Who am I ?A  bit  of  context...  I  dont  have  a  PhD  and  I’m  not  a  trained  anthropologist,  but  I  am  lucky  in  that  I  can  pracBce  certain  aspects  of  it  in  my  work
  4. 4. Why did I do this study?A  year  ago  I  changed  jobs  resulBng  in  me  traveling  through  5  zones  of  the  London  underground  and  back  each  day,  spending  an  hour  or  more  twice  a  day  on  the  tube  I  quickly  ran  out  of  things  to  keep  myself  occupied.  I  began  to  noBce  a  frequent  number  of  people  a  sleep  on  the  tube,  with  an  interest  in  cultural  research  I  thought  I  would  document  this  phenomenon  and  turn  it  into  a  study...
  5. 5. Developing a methodologyI  quickly  realised  that  like  any  study  i  needed  an  approach,  a  methodology
  6. 6. How to catch a sleeper You can’t use an SLR, I quickly discovered that discretion was the key to success.What  became  quickly  apparent  is  that  you  need  to  be  discreet,  you  cant  go  poking  a  big  SLR  in  peoples  faces,  even  if  they  are  asleep,  everyone  else  in  the  carriage  starts  to  look  at  you  funny
  7. 7. How to catch a sleeper + An iPhone and ninja cam was invaluableI  have  no  affiliaBon  with  ninjacam,  but  I  will  champion  it  as  a  great  app  for  being  discreet,  basically  it  can  make  you  iphone  look  like  it’s  off  while  you  snap  away.  It  does  make  you  learn  how  to  shoot  from  the  hip
  8. 8. Some times you get spotted “It’s one of the few times you dont want someone to look at the camera when your taking their picture”Even  with  these  precauBons,  you  someBmes  can  sBll  get  spoQed,  it’s  not  foolproof
  9. 9. You  think  he’s  asleep
  10. 10. oh,  no  I’ve  been  spoQed
  11. 11. spoQed  again
  12. 12. This  guy  was  an  interesBng  one,  he  noBces  the  camera
  13. 13. wonders  what  I’m  doing  doing,  but  even  when  I  move  seats  (to  capture  a  different  sleeper)
  14. 14. he  came  and  sat  in  front  of  me  and  went  to  sleep,  clearly  not  that  bothered  
  15. 15. Who are the sleepers?So  who  are  these  sleepers?
  16. 16. ...all types of people “The bum on the sidewalk can enjoy the same tasting Coke as the president of the USA” Andy Warhol (possibly)Well  they  come  from  all  walks  of  life,  I  like  this  quote  about  how  a  can  of  coke  is  the  same  no  maQer  who  drinks  it  (theres  not  premium  can).  In  the  same  way  sleep  is  one  of  those  social  levellers
  17. 17. So  everyone  sleeps,  older  people
  18. 18. younger  people
  19. 19. women
  20. 20. men
  21. 21. all  types
  22. 22. no  maQer  who  the  are
  23. 23. ...all time of the day & yearand  it  happens  through  out  the  year
  24. 24. Winter Summerthrough  all  the  seasons,  hot,  cold...
  25. 25. It’s happening all over europeAnd  its  happening  all  over  europe
  26. 26. (well I found sleepers in Berlin and Paris)Well  its  world  wide,  but  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  go  to  france  and  germany  whilst  doing  the  study  an  have  documented  sleepers  in  Berlin  &  Paris
  27. 27. They’re not just on the tubeAnd  sleepers  are  not  just  on  the  tube,  public  sleeping  happens  all  over
  28. 28. On  buses
  29. 29. On  the  overground  trains
  30. 30. And  even  in  Starbucks
  31. 31. at  lunchBme  on  saturday  (it  wasn’t  exactly  quite)
  32. 32. Some  people  could  quite  make  it  onto  the  tube  before  they  fell  asleep
  33. 33. Some points of interestSo,  a  few  points  of  interest  that  came  out  of  the  study
  34. 34. Habitual sleepers There are some sleepers are habitual, getting the tube at the same time (same carriage) every working day. ...They must be factoring it into their daily sleep quotaI  was  amazed  that  they  would  always  wake  up  in  Bme  fore  there  stop
  35. 35. Where as...Where as there are other unplanned sleepers whowould sleep though there stop...
  36. 36. ...even  if  it  was  the  end  of  the  line.
  37. 37. This  lady  was  on  a  busy  bustling  tube
  38. 38. Even  when  people  got  on  and  of  she  remain  undisturbed  in  her  slumber
  39. 39. Now  this  guy
  40. 40. Was  fast  asleep  long  aZer  the  train  had  pulled  in  an  everyone  had  disembarked  the  train  (I  stayed  around  for  a  while  to  see  how  long  before  he  woke  up)
  41. 41. Busy or quite a sleeper willsleep on regardless...
  42. 42. An  empty  tube,  apart  form  these  two  seaming  unconnected  people  at  one  end  of  the  carriage  (and  myself)
  43. 43. This  lady  was  fast  asleep  on  a  busy  rush  hour  tube
  44. 44. An  slept  on  oblivious  to  it  all
  45. 45. On a Eurostar trip at 5pmreturning from Paris...
  46. 46. walking  the  length  of  the  train  I  discovered  a  whole  train  full  of  sleepers
  47. 47. Some  more  prepared  then  others
  48. 48. Some  more  asleep  then  others
  49. 49. Behaviours of the sleepers
  50. 50. Personal security: What do with your belongings?One  of  the  biggest  quesBons  I  asked  myself  was  what  about  their  belongings,  and  I  noBced  some  techniques  employed  by  the  sleepers
  51. 51. The holding tight,
  52. 52. This  guy  had  white  knuckles  because  he  was  holding  the  bag  so  Bght
  53. 53. Or  use  the  bag  as  a  head  rest...
  54. 54. Strap it on,Dont  think  you  have  the  mind  to  hold  your  bag  when  asleep?  Try  strapping  it  to  yourself  for  security
  55. 55. This  lady  clearly  prioriBsed  her  bag,  one  (more  precious)  strapped  on  and  the  other  sat  beside  her
  56. 56. The Confident(between you legs),
  57. 57. One  strapped,  one  between  the  legs
  58. 58. This  behaviour  was  typically  a  male  favourite
  59. 59. This  guy  looked  like  he  might  drop  he’s  phone  he  was  in  such  a  deep  sleep
  60. 60. The Over-Confident(the offering)
  61. 61. Here  is  my  bag...
  62. 62. ...please  take  it  from  me
  63. 63. Now  this  was  my  favourite,  almost  a  zen  like  prayer
  64. 64. The Berlin technique,And  then  there  was  the  Berlin  technique
  65. 65. as  seen  at  3am  on  Friday  evening
  66. 66. Getting ComfortableContrary  to  what  you  have  seen  it’s  not  easy  for  everyone  to  find  a  comfortable  sleeping  posiBon
  67. 67. This  guy  was  swaying  for  about  30mins  one  side  then  the  other
  68. 68. She  thought  she  was  comfy,  but  nope,  she  slumps  over
  69. 69. This  guy  relaxes  into  it...  aZer  a  Bme
  70. 70. This  lady  without  any  fuss  moves  seat  mid  sleep  to  gain  a  more  comfortable  posiBon
  71. 71. This  lady  moves  seats  and  gets  really  comfy  
  72. 72. Am  I  comfy?  Ah  maybe  now...  oh  this  is  beQer...  Ah  thats  the  spot!
  73. 73. Has  a  yawn  and  then  give  into  the  sleep
  74. 74. The  train  goes  over  a  bump,  and  he  slumps  forward
  75. 75. This  guy  is  denying  hes  sleepy,  he  slowly  starts  to  succumb  to  it
  76. 76. Then  the  sleep  takes  hold
  77. 77. What to do with your head ?
  78. 78. You  can  hold  it
  79. 79. The  head  back  technique  was  quite  a  popular  one
  80. 80. This  lady  was  well  insulated  and  cushioned,  a  360  pillow
  81. 81. The  head  forward  slump...
  82. 82. Use what is around you,Or  you  could  use  the  structure  around  you
  83. 83. Make  the  most  of  the  space  around  you
  84. 84. I  have  to  bring  special  aQenBon  to  this  guy,  he  has  got  his  head  balanced  on  2  inches  of  plasBc,  its  an  art  form
  85. 85. I’m not really sleeping!Then  there  are  the  people  who  pretend  that  they  aren’t  really  asleep
  86. 86. Hiding  behind  their  bags
  87. 87. The  readers...
  88. 88. Now  I’m  not  sure  if  they  fall  asleep  reading,  or  if  they  make  it  look  like  they  are  reading  then  fall  asleep
  89. 89. Listening  to  a  lullaby  
  90. 90. This  guy  slumps  of  a  bit  later  in  the  journey
  91. 91. Its  summer,  sunny,  you  have  your  sunglasses  on...
  92. 92. But  then  you  slump  forwards  and  everyone  can  see  your  fast  asleep
  93. 93. I’m asleep and I don’t care!The  unashamed  sleepers
  94. 94. Hood  up  and  I  dont  care
  95. 95. No  hood,  use  what  you  have
  96. 96. This  guy  looked  like  he  could  have  almost  be  posing  for  me  -­‐  if  it  wasn’t  for  the  snoring
  97. 97. Is it infectious, like yawning?So  I  began  to  wonder,  is  sleeping  infecBous  like  yawning  is?
  98. 98. This  guy  seems  to  be  infecBng  the  lady  next  to  him
  99. 99. 3  strangers  sleeping  together  in  public
  100. 100. The  most  I  had  in  one  tube  was  5
  101. 101. This  guy  managed  to  infect  two  different  people  sat  next  to  him
  102. 102. How do you know when its a deep sleep?Apart  from  snoring...
  103. 103. Lets  take  a  closer  look
  104. 104.  it’s  the  mouth  open  imminent  drooling
  105. 105. Catching sleepers gameSo  to  maintain  my  enthusiasm  for  the  study  throughout  the  12  months,  i  made  up  a  game
  106. 106. The Game of catching sleepers + A Cross between and pub cricketIts  a  bit  like  noBcings  and  the  old  game  of  pub  cricket
  107. 107. +1 The sleeperSo... 1 point for a sleeper
  108. 108. +2 The improvised pillowmore effort to make a pillow, an extra point
  109. 109. +3 The pillowit take some preparation to bring a pillow so more points
  110. 110. +2 The unique2 points for a unique pose / position
  111. 111. +2The end of the line* extra points for an empty carriage
  112. 112. +10 The yawner * must be caught in actionThis is an especially hard one to catch in action
  113. 113. +3 The hiding3 points is you can rumble a hiding sleeper
  114. 114. +3 The shameless3 points for a shameless sleeper, theyre more rare to find
  115. 115. +5 The open mouth * mega points for documented drool!You get extra points for documenting some drool!
  116. 116. +1 +1 x2 The Multiplier * times by the number in shotMultiplier points
  117. 117. +1 +1x3The Multiplier* times by the number in shot
  118. 118. +1 +10 x2 The Combo MultiplierComboʼs!
  119. 119. +20 The offering * such a unique poseAnd mega points for my favourite pose
  120. 120. Things I learnt on the waySo  a  few  things  I  learnt  about  sleeping  on  the  tube...
  121. 121. Tips for sleeping on the tube• Don’t have a bag or any belongings your not wearing• Get an seat at the very front or very back or the tube• If you think you might miss your stop, dont sleep
  122. 122. Tips for sleeping on the tubeMost importantly:Don’t fall asleep if you dont want some one to takeyour photo! :)
  123. 123. Insights from desk researchOnce  I  had  completed  the  study,  I  thought  that  I  should  (retrospecBvely)  do  some  desk  based  research  on  sleepers
  124. 124. I  found  this  this  venn  diagram...I’ll  leave  that  with  you[Sorry  cant  find  a  link  to  the  source  -­‐  FFFFound]
  125. 125. Even  superheros  sleep  on  public  transport[Sorry  cant  find  a  link  to  the  source  -­‐  FFFFound]
  126. 126. CensoredAnd  it  could  be  could  be;  Drunk,  Naked  and  Asleep[Sorry  cant  find  a  link  to  the  source  -­‐  FFFFound]
  127. 127. THANK YOU…E: hello@olishaw.comT: @olishawW: