Eudaimonia! Provokes - why we used art as provocation

31 October 2016

Free workshop - Tuesday 8th November / 6.30pm-8.30pm, Central YMCA Club / FREE

As part of our Eudaimonia! movement, we commissioned 12 artists to install nine provocations into the Central YMCA Club. These art installations have popped up all around the club, in all sorts of different spaces and places. Whether you have heard the sound of seagulls, felt the ‘familiars’ responding to your heartbeat or seen the protest posters banning tea and cakes, these installations have challenged some assumptions around health and wellbeing. 

The provocations got some strong responses from our members, which was exactly our intention and shows how much they care about the club. Thank you to all those who participated and shared your views. 

To us, the provocations were the start of a conversation. We warmly invite you to join us for an evening with the artists, where they will present their artworks and how they were generated. Over wine and nibbles we’ll explore the artists’ intentions and how their work can help us reflect on what we mean by wellbeing, and the role of Central YMCA in a rapidly changing world. This is a great moment to shape what’s next for the Eudaimonia! movement.

Artists & artworks in conversation

Anonymous letters - Studio Tej – Kathryn and LIbby

An audio installation of the Anonymous Letters series installed at various points within the YMCA. Unsigned letters from Studio Tej and YMCA members and staff to people they know, or don’t know; words of encouragement, of thanks, of support, of doubt that quietly act as a poetic provocation invited curiosity around wellbeing and human connections.

I’m glad it’s not like that! - Toby Leigh

Members and staff told Toby why they love Central YMCA, and why other gyms and sports centres aren’t able to offer the same experience. It’s a friendly environment, welcome to all and free from the pressures of a typical macho health club - offering a breathing space away from the relentless white noise that is modern life. This series of fake propaganda posters provocated us to consider how important these factors are in our wellbeing.

Made at the YMCA / Nature Trail - Pip Longson, Eeva Sarlin

Vending body parts reminiscent of religious votive offerings, ‘Made at the YMCA’, provoked gym members to reflect on the transactional dimension of gym going.  Using graphics inspired by labelling found on gym equipment, the work humorously translated muscle-focussed into everyday contexts asking members to think about their wellbeing in a holistic way.

Reflections - Cristina Guitan

‘Reflections’ are a number of illustrated interventions across the glass and mirror surfaces of Central YMCA in which Cristina invited the viewer to consider and reconsider issues about the heart, body, dreams and emotions. These images challenged the way we look at our own reflection, helping us open doors to new ways and perspectives of seeing ourselves. 

Spirit Scientists & Wellbeing Futures Experts - Lucy Baker and Kevin Davidson

During October we were very lucky to welcome Spirit Scientists and Wellbeing Futures Experts Dr Christopher Lavender and Dr Karrie Shooster MC, who conducted a survey into the connections between the physical fitness of Central YMCA members, the dexterity of personal spiritual algorithms and past incarnations of the Collective. They will be providing members with tips to further their mind/body/spirit health and wellbeing.

Please note that this event is free to attend but places are limited so please book in advance on our Eventbrite page.

You can also share the conversation via social media by using the hashtag #Eudaimonia or follow us on Twitter @CentralYMCAUK or our new Facebook page /centralYMCAuk.