Broch’s last JOY Bomb installation at the same venue in October aimed to provide Londoners with unashamedly colourful and child-like distraction, with two actors dressed as characters waving at passers-by. With the stated aim of providing happiness for its own sake, Love Letters to JOYself comes “dripping with melty chocolatey goodness, boy band vibes and cherry-red energy,” according to its press release. “It’s here to remind you to save some red-hot burning love for yourself this year.”

For Valentine’s weekend, the 13th and 14th of February, JOY Bomb London will also be driving around the capital, on a route encompassing numerous NHS hospitals, with a digital message board, sharing letters and gratification messages. The public have been encouraged to send in their own messages and art works to be displayed on JOY Bomb’s platforms.

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JOY Bomb’s previous installation feature characters dressing up

CulturAll spoke to Amy Broch about JOY:

Do you think that this initiative is something you’ll continue after the pandemic?

Definitely. We started publicly in September of last year and think JOY Bomb London will actually have a much stronger presence once we’re able to be closer to each other physically. Ideally, we’d love for our installations to be fully immersive.

How have people reacted to the initiative so far?

Really positively. Both in London and internationally people have found so much joy in the installations even if it is just from photographs or short videos.

What does this say about how we communicate nowadays?

I think the installations, perhaps mostly out of necessity right now, highlight how we communicate closely yet at a distance. The internet can feel that way too. Even before the pandemic – you can feel close to someone even at a distance. Arguably, there are plenty of holes in internet connections but if someone is connecting, whether from the road in Mayfair or on Instagram, with my art and eliciting joy from it, it’s the greatest compliment. I personally find my greatest connections to be ones I can feel and smell and touch and I want people to experience JOY Bomb that way….but until that’s possible, I can just keep trying to create that feeling visually and hope it translates.

JOY in memory

Broch created JOY Bomb following the death of her husband, former AMG CEO Sean Healey, who died last year from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a nerve condition from which there is no known cure or effective treatment.

Research has suggested that happiness is linked to better treatment outcomes and longevity for ALS patients, hence JOY Bomb London’s creative mission of “fun for fun’s sake”. Proceeds from every installation support the Healey Center for ALS in memory of Healey, the world’s largest hospital-based research programme in the world, supporting early stage trials of promising ALS treatments.

JOY Bomb London encourages everyone to share their ‘Love Letter to JOYself’ for publication on their platforms (either with a signature, or anonymously). You can direct message on Instagram: @joybomblondon, or by email: ineedjoy@joybomblondon.com.

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