‘m-Health’ is a six day project at Cell Project Space which seeks to transform an ordinary gallery into an environment for leisure and relaxation. The programme and exhibition is comprised by work from artists Andreas Ervik, Ian Giles, Pablo Jones-Soler, Daniel Keller, Hannah Lees, Rachel Reupke and Jonny JJ Winter. Through a variety of diverse practises, m-Health questions the construction of social and personal behaviour in increasingly changing technological and urbanised environments.
In urban contexts, the impact of capitalist superstructures manifests itself in the ways in which we compose our health and well-being. In exploring leisure, relaxation and self-reflection ‘m-Health’ provides an environment in which our everyday practices are eroded and personal time can become a commodity in itself.
‘m-Health’ began with the launch of a new luxury brand ‘SANKE’ by Norwegian artist Andreas Ervik. The brand seeks to re-engage the user with their sensory and bodily interactions with the world. Each object in the collection suggests a self-reflective way of being, a calmer outlook toward a gentrified city in order to influence our creative practices. Hannah Lees also approached ideas concerning self-generation, creative idealisms and rituals by leading a baking workshop whereby the participant produced sourdough creations to continue the legacy of the workshop.
A consideration consistently present within ‘m-Health’ is the symbolism of personal aspiration and the urban environments that we have constructed to block out nature. The spa, the central motif of ‘m-Health’, invites the spectator to re-engage viscerally with the self, devoid from the disturbance of societal superstructures. Jonny JJ Winter’s juice bar serves a range of alcoholic juice drink cocktails, at your request. The act of purposefully engaging with a drink, purporting to signify a healthier way of being acts as a commentary on our dissociations with self-preservation and personal autonomy.
The spa seeks to impart a sense of relaxation, leisure, and physical and psychological well-being. This exhibition uses the built environment as a platform to assert these themes by being immersed within the luxury of a spa. It is therefore a series of engagements within the space that are emphasised, as opposed to the individual objects and artworks, which cannot be considered to be separately in this exhibition. They all contribute to the overall aura, sensation and aesthetic of ‘m-Health’. A hybrid of culturally led urbanisation and self-led individualisation, as in Pablo Jones-Soler’s bench, is at the forefront of our conscious and unconscious experiences here. The stainless steel edges of the bench already suggest a sense of social control. They structure the experience of the user as long as they are happy to interact with it as appropriate. The minimalism of the bench is uninviting, its aesthetic cold and inaccessible. Yet it highlights the construction of experience within gentrified city environments.
It is increasingly evident that contemporary art is concerning itself with the effects of socio-political superstructures in urban environments, and the manner in which artists operate within them. The spa and exhibition space operates as an elusive structure, a platform to indulge oneself in the promise of personal autonomy and self-preservation.
‘m-Health’ allows the spectator to re-engage with a gallery environment from their own reflections and personal choices. The immersive qualities place the perceiver at the forefront of the exhibition, alongside the artwork, instead of in front of it. ‘m-Health’ is an immersive project which allows the self to be re-identified and questioned in relation to the implications of gentrified environments. Throughout these works, the future, landscapes and the self become undone, unveiling alternative ways of constructing the self through collective and interpersonal experiences.
A questioning of the assemblage of our inner states of self are underscored. ‘m-Health’ re-appropriates our bodies and mind in a lucid, utopian environment. However this self-preservation is grounded within the ambiguity of personal agency and identity: where the self exists in opposing states, as a meditation upon the critical dimension of aspiration and luxury, and ongoing exchange between the real and the imagined.