Slumber Party Across The Country With Artists Emma & Cybelle
Releasing today, Eternal Sleepover is a new print project and collaborative album archiving the endearing experience of a group of friends last summer. Produced by creatives Emma Czerwinski, Cybelle Corwin, and Shamshawan Scott, who form Messy, a queer magazine and collective, the collaborators enlisted close acquaintances and strangers (including Clairo, Jheyda McGarrell, and Erika Bowes) to capture the closeness felt between the hours of 10PM and 10AM. Going from city to city and sleeping over at people’s houses, the group hosted multiple slumber parties in places all over the country, making an abundance of art projects, which they hope evoke the same feelings that they felt while on the road. What results is a symphony of sonic and visual delight that borders on dream and reality, making the public feel as if they are part of the project, too.
Milk spoke with Cybelle and Emma about what initially sparked this idea and their creative process for putting together the multimedia project.
Can you tell me more about both of your creative backgrounds?
Cybelle: I’m visualizing butterflies floating into space. That’s where I’m at… But really I’m 19.. So I don’t know how much of a “creative background” I have. Currently in-between New York and the rest of the world.
Emma: Cybelle has actually been making art forever— her mom used to teach art and her dad started Vanilla Bicycles, this super sick custom bike shop in Portland. She’s from there. I’m from Munich / Boston / Vegas / Seattle… kinda moved around a bit. We both live together! That’s what I would say. In the past four months we have been in Seattle, Portland, Berlin, Paris, New York… We left each other’s sides for about 4 days during these four months and it was the worst few days! I hate being apart. I feel lost and floundering.
Cybelle: Structurally, we are visual and written editors of Messy. That’s what we “do.” But we literally just do anything else that we want to. It’s split up into a “job” and what we get to experiment with, but we love it all.
How did this project first come about? What sparked the idea initially?
Cybelle: I thought of the term “eternal sleepover” a year and some change ago, in our apartment in New York. I made this physical collage of two naked people.. and a bunny hopping.. it said eternal sleepover arching across. I scanned it in and texted it to Emma who was in the other room. I think we realized we were just living that. We dramatized it over the summer by inviting people into it and devoting ourselves to making stuff for it.
Emma: Yeah, we left our apartment in New York (lease was up, NYC is too expensive so we weren’t gonna renew) where we were having a two person continuous sleepover and transitioned into a sleepover that spanned cities, people, places, days… time.. kinda.
What was your mission with the print element of the project?
Cybelle: Seems like lots of publications talk about artists for buzzword sake, what they are, what they aren’t… Our message is just being a space for people to actually grow and actually exist as they want to portray themselves.
Emma: For this specific project, everything is made at night, between 10 PM and 10 AM. That’s the only parameter we gave to our artists. It was so special to see whatever people were making. To me it’s more of a psychology / art crossover. These things go together because our brains work differently at night, and there is something pervasive below the surface that you can’t quite quantify or describe in words and I love that.
Cybelle: The cherry on top of any intention we could have… Is crossing our fingers, putting it out there and trusting that whoever sees it is able to look at it without being directed as to how they are supposed to see it.
Tell me about the music portion of the project.
Emma: It’s called Drowse.
Cybelle: Me, Emma, and Sham went on a picnic the one sunny day last February and started talking about music. Sham was listing off a bunch of band names…
Emma: On the walk back home me and Sham were kind of free styling, and kept repeating “crack an egg.. smoke a cigarette…” Visualizing some guy who goes to a diner everyday and has a sunny side up egg and smokes a stoke. The American Dream sorta, I’m super interested in that whole idea and how so many people still buy into it, including probably myself.
Anyway, I started really encouraging Sham to make music because his flow is good, his words are poetic.. he’s good at it! I showed him how to play piano high with your eyes closed, he picked that up quick and was making whole melodies and chord progressions in a few weeks time. He really just took to music so easily. I took guitar, singing, choir music notation when I was younger, my brother goes to school for music and plays 5 different instruments, he teaches me a lot. I have a lot of sort of technical know-how in a way, and Sham has a lot of creativity. And he learns quick! He also works with this band Sports from Oklahoma. Jacob Theriot does the production for it and is SUPER talented. Him and Sham naturally get along great and together they produced Drowse, mastered the songs artists made for the project, weaved them together with interludes, intros, effects, decided the order and feel of the project. They are basically music editors like me and Cybelle were the magazine editors. Sham is really into making music as much as taking photos, it felt natural to have a music component for this project, necessary. I don’t think there is a time in me, Cybelle, or Sham’s creative process when music isn’t involved in some way.
Who were your collaborators on this project? How did you work with these people?
Emma: Everyone we worked with on this project we love. We aren’t talking about an office setting… this is made with people we sleep next to, cook dinner with, fight with, cry with, hear fucking on the other side of the wall… A lot of people advise me not to say “friends” because it makes it sound like what we are doing is unprofessional but I work best with people I love… this was made with all friends or people I really admire.
It seems like there’s an element of intimacy to this project. Why did you set out to document a sense of closeness?
Emma: I don’t know what else would I make art about besides love, life experiences, being close to someone. To me nothing else matters. Maybe it’s because Cybelle and I are in love, I don’t see any other thing in the world besides love… stupid.. cheesy.. true. :)
Cybelle: You have to really really want something to live that life. You have to really be living a life to make art about it. It’s such an intense and intimate experience to really create something.
What emotions are you hoping to make people feel by seeing and listening to this body of work?
Emma: Real quick — our intended consumer experience is listening to the album and flipping through the book at the same time in a bedroom setting at night. Sitting up with a little light and just letting your mind turn into mush with the project. I would say get high… but that makes some people anxious so do whatever makes you feel relaxed and creative.
Cybelle: Combination of the feeling you would get laying in a strawberry patch and laying up at night looking at glow in the dark stars on your ceiling. Combination of sitting on the front porch when it’s hot and humid outside and sneaking into a pool at night. Combination of getting in trouble and getting away with it.