Rest & its discontents | Group Exhibition | Friday 30 September until 30 October 2016

Joceline Howe,  Static

Joceline Howe, Static

Rest & its discontents

Group Exhibition : Friday 30 September until 30 October 2016

at the The Mile End Art Pavilion, London E3 4QY

Announcement of Rest Test results on The Anatomy of Rest series, BBC Radio 4, 27 September

Rest matters to everyone. Its presence, absence and quality affects mind, body, culture and society. Rest & its discontents is a major new exhibition exploring the dynamics of rest, unrest and restlessness in an evolving immersive laboratory of artists’ moving image, performance, drawing, poetry, data, sound, music and discussion. The exhibition opens as the results of the world’s largest ever survey on rest are announced by broadcaster and writer Claudia Hammond, in a new BBC Radio 4 series, The Anatomy of Rest.

Rest & its discontents presents the work of around twenty international artists, designers, researchers, poets, performers, composers and activists, bringing to life a diverse and creative enquiry into the culture and science of work and activity, noise and sound, daydreaming and protest. The contributors are part of Hubbub, a wider collective that also includes social scientists, broadcasters, humanities researchers, scientists and mental health experts who undertook a two-year residency in The Hub at Wellcome Collection in London, led by Durham University.

Highlights of Rest & its discontents include:

Nina Garthwaite’s radio for mind wanderers, Default Mode Radio Network, is a radio station and livestream around which Rest & its discontents revolves. An infinitely changing audio stream micro-broadcasts poetry, music, sound and spoken word in the gallery, on Resonance 104.4FM, The Guardian online, and as a series of audio features, live discussions and podcasts.

Listening to the City at Rest by Guerilla Science, Aino Tytti and Bradley Garrett explores the impact of vertical architecture on our sonic and social experience of London’s stretching cityscape. The sounds of Denning Point, a 23- storey tower block in Tower Hamlets have been turned into a composition and installation that reflects on the nature of vertical living.

Christian Nold’s audio installation and noise-monitoring network Prototyping a New Heathrow, invites the public to listen in real time to the effect of aircraft on natural environments in two London locations using unique low-cost sensors that can be installed in people’s gardens.

The Floating Thirty-Nine by Patrick Coyle consists of thirty-nine solar-powered objects floating on the large expanse of water immediately outside the gallery. Seemingly functionless buoys by day, at night they illuminate, alluding to the categories of labour prohibited on the Sabbath, the day of rest.

James Wilkes’ four fictional texts – The Lathe Had Melted – are inspired by the Peckham Experiment, an interwar health centre that utilised modernist glass and concrete architecture to observe human activity in a specific environmental context. Wilkes’ texts allude to fragments from books, manuscripts and letters by the Experiment’s founders and extend across the gallery’s huge windows, disrupting the view of the outside world through the act of reading.

Tamarin Norwood’s film, Sleep Studies I-V explores idle drawing, doodling and scribbling in the context of sleep deprivation and mark-making in relation to dreams, memory and hallucination.

Static is a participative installation by Joceline Howe using printed textiles, treated film stock and digital imagery to explore the semiotics of visual noise through dance and gesture, creating spaces where the choreographed, improvised and interactive collide.

In Breath, a filmed flute performance, composer Antonia Barnett-McIntosh explores the concept of breath as musical rest, and breathlessness as a form of exhaustion where in and out breaths are used in the creation of sound.

Cartographies of Rest by Josh Berson and LUSTLab is an intimate, interactive installation bringing together the sounds of urban environments all over the world together with data from individuals recording their current state of being each day on axes ranging from ‘falling asleep’ to ‘feeling sped-up’, and ‘despairing’ to ‘euphoric’.

Teaching us to relax by Ayesha Nathoo explores the history of modern relaxation as a health solution, as presented in books, pamphlets and objects concerning subjects such as psychology, meditation, physiotherapy, self-help, physical education and antenatal instruction.

The Rest Test – which generated responses from 18,000 members of the public in 134 countries – revealed that two thirds of the public would like more rest, whilst nearly a third said they needed more rest than average. The activities people found most restful were often those done alone including reading, being in a natural environment, listening to music and doing nothing in particular. Themes from the survey such as inactivity, activity, relaxation and emotions have been woven into a fabric covering six benches in the exhibition, on which visitors can relax whilst considering the results.

Rest & its discontents is accompanied by an extensive programme of events including an exploration of the ramifications of the 1975 Iceland women’s strike, a cabaret of anti-work songs, new music and poetry performances and a panel discussion about the anxiety generated by mass media and rolling news. Rest & its discontents is curated by Robert Devcic, founder of GV Art London, for Hubbub, a Durham University residency at The Hub at Wellcome Collection, funded by Wellcome.

For images, interviews and further information please contact Janette Scott Arts PR on or +44(0)7966 486156.

Notes To Editors

Rest & its discontents, 30 September – 30 October 2016, The Mile End Art Pavilion, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY. Opening hours 12:00-18:00, Tuesday – Sunday. Closed Mondays. Late Thursday, 6 October, open until 9pm. Admission free. 

Mile End Art Pavilion is a 4 minute walk from Mile End Underground Station. Buses 25, 277, D6 and D7 stop close to the Station. Further information from

The Restless Compendium, a book of twenty-two essays, interventions and artists’ writings is published by Palgrave Macmillan to complement Rest & its discontents and is available from as a free download.


Rest & its discontents selected events:

Mindwandering: good for the mind?, discussion

Tuesday 4 October, 7pm-8pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

First Thursday Late: live poetry and performances

Thursday 6 October, 6pm-9pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

Hubbub at Kings Place: new compositions in poetry and contemporary music

Friday 7 October, 8pm-9.30pm. Tickets £6.50 from

Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG

Reclaiming our lives: workshop about anti-work politics and practice

Wednesday 12 October, 6pm-9pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

The Meditative Response: workshop led by composer, percussionist and poet Eugene Skeef

Saturday 15 October, 2.30pm-3.30pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

One Life to Live: Anti-work cabaret with Jessica Walker & Joseph Atkins

Wednesday 19 October, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

Music for Galleries: ambient music from Darkroom

Thursday 20 October, 8pm-10pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

The Inner Ears: a live listening session by In the Dark

Saturday 22 October, 8pm-9pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

The Hubbub of News: panel discussion with psychologists and journalists

Wednesday 26 October, 7pm-8:30pm. Free.

Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

Further information about all events, and booking details on

Hubbub is an international collective of social scientists, artists, humanities researchers, scientists, broadcasters, public engagement professionals and mental health experts. The team, led by Durham University, is exploring the dynamics of rest, noise, tumult, activity and work, as they operate in mental health, neuroscience, the arts and the everyday. Hubbub is the inaugural recipient of The Hub Award, in residence at The Hub at Wellcome Collection, a new dedicated space and resource for interdisciplinary projects exploring medicine, health and wellbeing.

Wellcome Collection is the free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned Wellcome Library, a café, shop, restaurant and conference facilities as well as publications, tours, international and digital projects.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome. Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. They are a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. They support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

Durham University is a world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities. Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students. Durham is ranked in the world’s top 100 universities for reputation (Times Higher Education World Reputation Review rankings 2015), and fifth in the UK in the 2016 Complete University Guide.

Martin Beney