Agnese Morganti

2020 - Ongoing

Tonight, in Italy, over 9 million people will not be able to sleep a wink.

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Morpheus is a multiform deity, endowed with silent wings and visiting the dreams of mortals to gently accompany them towards a restful night. The Morpheus of the present manifests itself as a light and hyper-connected entity, that human beings seek for in a place that is, at same time, also one of the main sources of contemporary anxiety and sleep disturbances: the web.

ASMR (acronym for autonomous sensory meridian response), is a tingling sensation accompanied by chills starting from the top of the head and spreading throughout the body of those who experience it, inducing a state of pleasant relaxation, often a prelude to deep sleep. ASMR artists are youtubers who create and publish videos designed to arouse tingles and help their audience relax using specific sound and visual triggers such as tapping or brushing on a microphone, speaking in a whispered voice, chewing on food and even roleplaying imaginary characters or situations.

Their work, halfway between technological-artistic performance and magical gesture, is one of the fastest growing phenomenons of the web. With over 5.2 million ASMR videos uploaded to YouTube, the work of ASMR artists aims to induce a state of deep relaxation in the observer, producing sounds perceived as pleasant and staging situations often linked to the memory of the past or to relaxing experiences of the present.

Even if the phenomenon is not yet scientifically proven, the public consuming (and finding) ASMR contents as a sort of contemporary bedtime story is increasing. With COVID-19 disrupting our daily schedules and routines, ASMR has now become a daily ritual halfway between the world wide web and the pillow for thousands of people around the world.

This series currently features the work of four ASMR artists living in Italy and broadcasting in several languages. They are Arasulè ASMR, Luca ASMR, Tiny Seeds of ASMR, and Starling ASMR.

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  • February 2020. The Blue Yeti microphone, one of the most pupolar high sensitivity microphones used by ASMR artists all over the world.

  • February 2020. Monica Spicciani, known as Arasulé ASMR in the ASMR community, holds a purple feather, one of the triggers she most frequently uses in her videos. The word trigger identifies any tool, sound, or visual sign used to arouse tingles in the viewer.

  • February 2020. Portrait of Monica Spicciani, aka Arasulé ASMR, while recording a video.

  • August 2020. Starling ASMR taps on a bottle containing water and glitter to produce visual and sound triggers during one of her videos.

  • August 2020. Alice recording an ASMR video using her phone. Most ASMR artists produce their videos in their own home studios.

  • August 2020. Alice with her LED ring light.

  • July 2020. Luca ASMR with a pair of scissors.

  • July 2020. In one of Luca’s most popular videos, the viewer’s negative thoughts are represented as paper strands attached to his special mic. He then proceeds to remove them with tweezers.

  • February 2020. Arasulè ASMR recording with a special sound trigger unique to her channel. Some ASMR creators become known thanks to specific sounds and triggers that they often help discover. Triggers are commonly produced by everyday objects such as brushes, sponges, scissors, or even just the touch of bare hands, but anything can be used – as long as it produces a unique and “satisfying” sound.

  • August 2020. Starling ASMR recording a video where she reads stories in a whispered voice.

  • February 2020. Arasulè ASMR takes a rest after recording a video.