Sunday, 21 June 2015

Corporate wellness is making me sick...

I took part in an excellent and interesting event at the beautiful V&A on Friday. The Sackler Conference 2015: Art, Design and New Technology for Health, was great and it was good to hear people from different sectors getting together, instead of the usual suspects. Chairing a session on interactive and digital art in healthcare environments, was - to a degree - outside my comfort zone. But it was great to share the stage with people from design, curation and the health sector and in fact, it got me thinking again (sorry to drone on) about our work, language and the cult of individual 'wellness'. 

Looking at the wretched Hedonometer Project website today, I notice from their 'research' that people were pretty happy around christmas and valentines day, but (strange, this one) were less happy after the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and even more unhappy after the arrest of Justin Bieber! Oh yes, and this reliable data was gathered from twitter. That’s accurate then.

So in a fit of pique and primed to write just a few slanderous lines on our burgeoning obsession with quantifying the self through every App (and orifice) conceivable, it is with some relief that I read in one of today's papers, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London, Mark Honigsbaum has similar concerns, describing far more eloquently than I could, that: ‘In this brave new world of human-technological assemblages, the “digitally engaged patient”, or epatient, becomes the new ideal and a marketer’s wet dream.”

Whilst Honigsbaum focuses on the data, eluding to its storage and usage in a post-Snowden world, for my part I still see a narcissistic consumerism that’s well marketed and which taps into the age-old delusion of defeating death.

Of course, technological advances in health improvement are to be encouraged, it’s just, as Honigsbaum comments, this new technology, ‘ the thin end of a very long wedge, one that may see us sprinting towards a post-human future in which some people enjoy markedly better health styles and promotion prospects than others.’

The 7th of October 2015 
The Republic of Arts & Health offers up a free international one-day event at The Manchester School of Art. 

We are Local- We are International 
(More details soon, but the date is fixed) 

…now here's a lovely job!
Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer 
Lancaster theatre and Cinema, the Dukes, works with many marginalised and excluded communities. They are now expanding their film and arts programme for people living with dementia – A Life More Ordinary – both in Lancaster and to other partner venues. They wish to appoint an Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer on a salary scale: £20,000-£23,000 depending on experience.The closing date for completed applications: 5pm Tues 7th July.


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