Transforming how
we understand rest

The urge to be busy defines modern life. Rest can seem hard to find, whether in relation to an exhausted body, a racing mind or a hectic city. Should we slow down, or should we embrace intense activity? What effects do each of these states have on the health of our bodies and minds? Such questions frequently find their way into media reports and everyday conversations, but there has never been any sustained interdisciplinary attempt to answer them. Through our residency, international experts investigating hubbub and rest at different scales will, for the first time, be gathered in a shared space – to breathe new life into the questions we ask about rest and busyness.


Hubbub is an international collective of social scientists, artists, humanities researchers, scientists, broadcasters, public engagement professionals and mental health experts. We explore the dynamics of rest, noise, tumult, activity and work, as they operate in mental health, the neurosciences, the arts and the everyday. We are based in London as the first residents of The Hub at Wellcome Collection from October 2014 to July 2016.

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Rest & its discontents, 30 September – 30 October. The Mile End Art Pavilion, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY. Opening hours 12:00-18:00, Tuesday – Sunday. Closed Mondays. Admission FREE.

Image credit: Antonia Barnett-McIntosh / Ed Prosser, 2016

Free Exhibition: Rest & its discontents

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Rest & its discontents is a major new exhibition exploring rest and noise, tumult and work, through site-specific installations, artists’ moving image, performance, drawing, poetry, data, sound and music. The show draws on Hubbub, a two-year residency undertaken by fifty international artists, writers, social scientists, broadcasters, humanities researchers, scientists and mental health experts in The Hub at Wellcome Collection in London, and led by Durham University. Their investigations have revolved around the dynamics of rest, stress, exhaustion, cities, sound, noise, work and mind wandering.

Highlights of Rest & its discontents include a radio of rest by Nina Garthwaite of In The Dark radio, which weaves together voices, sounds and music from within and beyond the show, and broadcast as a series of live programmes, podcasts and webstreams; Patrick Coyle’s The Floating Thirty-Nine comprising thirty-nine solar-powered objects floating on the large expanse of water immediately outside the gallery alluding to the number of categories of labour prohibited on the Sabbath; Lynne Friedli’s investigations into anti-work struggles and politics debated live with local campaign groups in the gallery; Guerilla Science’s listening experiment taking exhibition visitors to a nearby twenty-storey building to explore the psychogeography of rest in the capital’s rapidly changing built environment; James Wilkes’ fiction inspired by the Peckham Experiment’s observations on environmental human health and activity extending across the gallery’s huge windows; Antonia Barnett-McIntosh’s film Breath exploring the concept of breath as musical rest and breathlessness as a form of exhaustion in a flute performance; Josh Berson and LUSTLab’s installation relaying location-specific personal statements of well-being in response to visitors’ movements; Ayesha Nathoo’s Teaching us to relax: A twentieth-century history of therapeutic relaxation surveying the messages, instructions and depictions of alternative relaxations as proposed by psychology, alternative health, physiotherapy, physical education and antenatal self-help books; and Christian Nold’s Welcome to Heathrow Airport inviting the public to help develop new ways of documenting the impact of Heathrow Airport on the quality of London life.

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 panel discussion about the anxiety generated by mass media and rolling news, a cabaret of anti-work songs, and new music and poetry performances.

As Rest & its discontents opens, the results of the world’s largest ever survey into subjective experiences of rest is announced on BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind by broadcaster, writer and associate director of Hubbub Claudia Hammond.

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 the Wellcome Trust.

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

 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

Call for participants: Inner experience in epilepsy

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Researchers at Hubbub are interested in finding out more about the day-to-day experience of living with epilepsy. The study involves wearing a beeper for a week and having a daily interview about your experiences with a researcher. This technique is called Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES).

We are asking a range of people with experience of epilepsy with ongoing seizures to take part in the study. In particular, we are interested in hearing from anyone aged over 18 who would answer yes to the following statement:

Do you have at least one seizure per month?

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Prof Charles Fernyhough by email or contact our research team on 0207 611 8290.

For further information and support on the topic of epilepsy, please visit Epilepsy Action

As a method of generating new material, artist Patrick Coyle records thoughts he has while jogging by speaking into a small microphone. These thoughts range from mundane visual observations to wild associative leaps which often find their way into performance scripts following an arduous process of transcription. The following is an excerpt from a transcribed speech recorded by Patrick while running through Regents Park on July 17th 2015. The breath mark (’) represents pauses for inhaling and exhaling.

Thinking at the speed of thought | Patrick Coyle

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thinking  ’  at the speed of thought  ’  I mean  ’  obviously we can’t  ’  nobody can really  ’  speak at the speed of thought  ’  there’s not really such thing as a  ’  a stream  ’  of consciousness  ’  I mean it’s a  ’  it’s a  ’  it could be  ’  described as a method in literary terms or perhaps  ’  even  ’  in  ’  the realm of  ’  psychoanalysis  ’  er  ’  it could be  ’  referred to  ’  I mean  ’  the stream of consciousness  ’  could be referred to as  ’  a technique  ’  erm  ’  but  ’  free association is  ’  probably more accurate in that context  ’  actually  ’  but  ’  also  ’  zebras  ’  wow  ’  I see  ’  zebras  ’  just right by  ’  very close to the road  ’  and of course the  ’  the stream isn’t really  ’  there and  ’  at all  ’  I mean it  ’  we just think in waves or  ’  pulses more  ’  and  ’  then  ’  of course as soon as  ’  those  ’  waves or pulses of thought are verbalized they  ’  no longer  ’  they’re  ’  well they’re nowhere near  ’  I mean  ’  I would never  ’  argue this as a  ’  accurate  ’  depiction  ’  or  ’  erm  ’  what’s the word  ’  not depiction but  ’  I wouldn’t even argue it as  ’  an accurate  ’  illustration of  ’  stream of consciousness  ’  thought  ’  erm  ’  it’s  ’  just  ’  me  ’  thinking  ’  while running  ’  and then saying  ’  some of the thoughts  ’  that come across my mind  ’  for example  ’  as I was saying that  ’  I was actually thinking about  ’  some conkers growing on a tree and a sculpture  ’  a bench of  ’  a lion  ’  or some other animal and  ’  then  ’  of course while I was  ’  saying that I was  ’  actually thinking about  ’  erm  ’  a dried-up  ’  conker tree  ’  or is that horse chestnut leaf  ’  that had gone very  ’  orangey brown  ’  and then  ’  connecting that with a  ’  wooden  ’   sculpture of a fox  ’  which  ’  erm  ’  as  ’  I was saying that I was just  ’  really  ’  not thinking much I was looking at  ’  a tennis court  ’  and  ’  erm  ’  something on the floor  ’  probably a  ’  a yoghurt  ’  pot  ’  and  ’  and so on  ’  and so on and  ’  the BT Tower  ’  and  ’  the  ’  two people  ’  wearing  ’  very similar T-shirts  ’  and shorts and  ’  seagulls  ’  and then  ’  the  ’  dark clouds gathering  ’  in the distance  ’  and  ’  the  ’  clear plastic cup and  ’  I think that’s a swallow  ’  and the trees  ’  and so on  ’  erm  ’  I probably shouldn’t do that for the whole  ’  twenty  ’  to twenty five minutes  ’  of speaking  ’  because  ’  well we’re already at  ’  sixteen minutes  ’  and nineteen seconds  ’  so  ’  still not really sure how that’s going to  ’  translate  ’  and  ’  I’m also not really sure if I have  ’  time today to  ’  transcribe  ’  the whole thing because  ’  that’s  ’  already probably  ’  a good  ’  hour and a half  ’  of writing  ’  because I’m not that fast and I don’t have  ’  erm  ’  oh  ’  well  ’   maybe I could try the  ’  erm  ’  speech  ’  software but  ’  even that will probably involve me  ’  speaking  ’  well listening back to this  ’  with earphones  ’  and then speaking it  ’  back  ’  to my  ’  computer  ’  more clearly than  ’  my breathy  ’  slurry voice  ’  and  ’  that’s  ’  one of those things that can’t be  ’  erm  ’  can’t be  ’  erm  ’  illustrated  ’  or depicted

Follow Patrick on Twitter @patricoyle

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Hubbub is funded by the Wellcome Trust.
The grant-holding institution is Durham University, and the project is in collaboration with the Research Group for Neuroanatomy & Connectivity of The Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.