Wellness aesthetics, broken systems and happy endings


“Andrea Goetzke, Cecilia PalmerWellness aesthetics and glossy technological interfaces share an appeal of convenience. Health apps cater to our wish to well-being. #grateful is a popular hashtag on instagram. There is a solution to everything, and we all strive to be happy. Look into the mirror – you can make it. In this performative dialogue we look into the wellness aesthetic and associated technologies, images and narratives – and analyze how they make us pretty unwell as a society. (Also, we’ll go through some of our guilty pleasures and some beautiful pictures). What’s wrong with wellness? Well, maybe not with enjoying our visit to the sauna. But what if seamlessness is an expected quality? If convenience is indispensable? If our body tracking is more accurate than our feelings could ever perceive? If something must be wrong if we are not happy? In a recent survey by the National Centre of Social Research (UK), one fifth of the participants stated ‘a lack of self-discipline and willpower’ as one of the main causes of mental illness. If when we get disturbed by what we read in the news, we go to yoga class to find peace with it? If comments and responses get hysterical if the world gets too complex? While we love creams and glossy surfaces – we feel it’s time to accept the scratch in the mirror. To look  towards the others too, instead of just ourselves. And to deal with the structural problems in their complexities (maybe meditate to better tolerate the process) instead of applying another quick and shiny lotion.”

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