During researching I came across this project who Laura Kampf the artist made this Happy Machine herself. It require an adult to cycle where the pivot point will cause the opposite carriage to turn. This simple mechanism I find it interesting that can be inspiration for my project.
However when I look in further, there are many issue such as safety of human and also children. As our grad show will be open for public, the structure and safety are very important. I had picture many situation like what if some one was inside the turning area or just simply put their hand somewhere, those would cause many safety issue that I might not able to control. So, I decided to go for a more feasible device or installation.
After the research, I have I few direction where I can narrow and concentrate on.
Spreading of happiness?
As it can brighten up people’s day and making someone happy.
Ask people to live the moment?
Sometimes it seems like we concentrate what is far away from us then the one close to us. As technology advance also divert our attenttion more on our mobile phone instead of people around us.
Giving of happiness?
We get happier when we are giving but due to our culture the way we are different. Like giving praise or giving to strangers are uncommon in our culture. Giving to society, some might not know where to start from.
Good relationship keep us happy
Are we really happy?
From the statistic by The World Happiness Report, 220 million children and 1 billion people suffered from anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. I though of the percentage of people posting happy stuff in my new feed are actually higher. However, the statistic shows that there are many people who are depressed and I felt maybe they don’t really show out.
However, I seems to complicate my direction from my original objective.
Why I wanted to do this project?
Because I wanted to create something fun and positive vibe for the general public. As long as it put a smile on someone’s face. From the research, the happiness I am referring to was Level 1 Happiness: Represents momentary feelings of joy and pleasure. The immediate feeling of joy from simple things.
I though of an idea of a interactive machine. First, viewers would be presented with buttons that ask them to press according to their average mood of the day.
Happy • Neutral • Sad
After pressing there will be random object with a piece of note drop down for them. Those are small gift like candy or biscuits while the notes would have some inspiring quotes. This was to give them a little small surprise. Also, there will be feedback after they press the buttons, for example if they pressed sad, the feedback can be “awwww, don’t be sad, cheer up”.
Create sets of interactive machine/device/installation to put a smile on people’s face.
After last week consultation, I went on for a week observation of myself on things that made me happy in the everyday life.
Watching Facebook Video of Dogs
After completed my Art History Presentation
Going Exercise in the morning with my family
A packet of Fries
Though of new ideas for my interactive space project
A gift from my friend
Coincidentally saw my good friend
Listening to music in bus
I felt mine was more of small things, that revolve around people. I felt happier when I accomplish something or I have help someone. I really appreciate the gift from my friend even though is a cup of milk-tea, it would warm people’s heart.
Next I went on to research what is happiness and I came across this article about 3 types of different happiness in psychology describes by Daniel Nettle. It represent different aspects of positive emotions we strive.
Level 1 Happiness: Represents momentary feelings of joy and pleasure
This refer more of short-term positive emotions like simple pleasures. Just like in my observation of myself, eating a packet of fries and listening to music lies under this category. It is easy to feel it due to the immediate feeling of joy, however this level of happiness do not last very long and we will return to our normal state very quickly.
Level 2 Happiness: Represents judgements about feelings
Sometimes was refer as well-being. This feeling goes beyond the momentary feeling of level one, more thoughtful and requires assessments. For example, comparing your situation with people and how you felt in the past.
Level 3 Happiness: Represents a higher meaning of life, flourishing and fulfilling one’s potential
This level represents fulfilment like achieving one’s full potential, like accomplishment with higher meaning related to self-realisation. Usually very difficult to determine but people who are in this level live more in harmony and has lesser inner conflicts because they felt that what they do are meaningful and for greater cause.
From this article, I gain insights and understand slightly more about the term of happiness. Level 1 was mostly we would encounter in daily life and are the most common one. While level 2 and 3 are lesser as it needs analysis and comes deep inside. I find it still very vague for me. In contrast there is another article about 4 level of happiness that distinguished by Aristotle.
We all strive for happiness.
Aristotle refer thats the only one we wanted for. Come to think about it, it is true, whether its directly or indirectly. The choice I make or I worked hard because I wanted to have a brighter future so I can be happy. My parents work hard because they wanted us to have a better living conditions etc.
Happiness Level 1: Laetus. Happiness from material objects.
This happiness is short-lived, as it based on something external, the sensual pleasure we get from like new car or like my packet of fries.
Happiness Level 2: Felix. Ego Gratification. Happiness from comparison: Being better, more admired than others etc.
We feel this type of happiness when are winning something, getting a promotion also comparing yourself with people.
Happiness level 3: Beatitudo. The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place.
Happiness based on the desire for connection, goodness, meaning, compassion, friendship and unity or in summarise Love. The focus was moved away from individual but the well-being of others. This happiness are more lasting, provides deeper meaning and feeling as compare to level 1 and 2. I felt this when I went to exercise in the morning with my family. Usually my brother and I don’t wake up 7+am in the morning to go with them but after our loss of a close aunty recently I came to understand that life has a limit. So we chose to wake up this early to accompany our parents and family where we leave them all shock and we enjoyed the trip together.
Happiness level 4: Sublime Beatitudo. Ultimate, perfect happiness
This level are similar to the level 3 happiness, very difficult to describe. Psychologist has labelled this as the ultimate happiness, some say the seek of connection to the larger universe or transcendence. Some people achieve through their spirituality, religion, philosophy, art but there is no define answer to this.
I am thinking of the direction like Happiness Level 3: The happiness of doing something good for others to making the world a better place. There is some questioning social issue in Singapore such as when something happen, the first reaction from the crowd was to take out their phones to shoot what is happening. Was it a right thing to do at first? Or do we always expect there is always someone else can do it? When will we be that someone else? In reflection, I always ask myself what I would do in those situations, but something I am sure about is I would not take out my phone straight away unless I am calling for an ambulance. This was one of the reason I felt to do on this Happiness project.
In this Ted talk by Robert Waldinger, discuss about “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness”. He shared about the research on The Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest study of adult life for 75 years. They track their lives of 724 mens and ask all about their life, work, health. The clearest message they got from the study was Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. They learn 3 lessons about relationship.
Social connection are really good for us, and that loneliness kills.
People who are more socially connect to family, friends or community are physically healthier and happier. Also they live longer then those who aren’t. Those who are more isolated their health decline in midlife as well as their brain functioning.
Its not about the numbers of friends you have or whether you are in a committed relationship, but the quality of your close relationship matters.
Conflict and without much affection relationship turn out to be very bad for health. Living in good and warm relationship is protective. Their study partnered man and woman reported in their 80s, said they had physical pain but their mood are still happy. However, people who are in unhappy relationship reported to have more physical pain but was magnified by emotional pain.
Good relationship don’t just project our bodies but also our brains.
The people who are in good relationships felt they can count on the another person when in time of need. Their memories stay shaper and longer. People who are in relationship where they feel they can’t count on, they experience earlier memory decline. Those with good relationship they had arguments and small fights and big fights together but as long as they feel they can count on one and other.
He also suggesting putting what he told in to practical use such as, replacing screen time with people time, livening up a stale relationship by doing something new together, long walks or date night, reaching out to family member who you haven’t been spoken in years. This is something I hope to achieve in my FYP, urging them to take action. The talk he gave was really meaningful and helpful, it have given me one of the possible way I could do for my FYP direction “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier”. I can relate to what he said and I felt is really important as well especially in our current generation. Most of us take advantage of the time at home being with the screen instead of talking to our close one. Once we lose our chance of being able to do it, we regret and feeling we could do better when we had the chance.
In Jacqueline Way’s Ted talk she talks about How to be Happy everyday: It will change the world. She mention about the statistic from the World Happiness Report stated that over 220 million children and 1 billion people suffered from anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. This result is not surprising, many Singaporean are diagnosis with depression as well. Those teens and children especially, it is like a diseases of civilisation. As most people uses handphones more than they socialise and didn’t observe of how their friends and family feels even they are just right beside them. Most probably all of them are using their phone at the same time which I find it quite saddening. Seems the world is changing living in the internet rather than living the moment.
She started 365 give with her 3 years old son who she wanted him to grew up happy, healthy, kind and compassionate. She developed this 1 give 1 day at a time for him to practise from small. Researchers also discover that giving will makes us happy as our endorphines would kick in and make us natural high and reduces stress. She start of donating blankets to the shelters near by her house with her son, whether is giving back to the society, helping the nature by recycling or helping human/friend/ stranger from the impact they choose from. She start blogging her daily activities and people started reading it. They send her what they have done and even a school teacher adopted this action to teach in her class. Way’s action cause a ripple effect that affect others, had made an impact to their families, friends and their communities around the world.
I really like the ideas of starting small which it tells people to do within their means. As compare to those issue like pollution of ocean, I felt I can do this more and it gives a sense of accomplishment when we done. It act as an encouragement and remind people about they had contribute to a better cause in their own ways.
Stefan Sagmeister is a graphic designer storyteller that based on New York, he put up on a exhibition “The Happy Show” that provides diverse experience for the visitor to peek into his exploration on what makes people and himself happy for 10 years. Also his attempts to increase his happiness through various means such as cognitive therapy and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. The designer showcase through films, print, infographics, sculpture and interactive installation that I find it very interesting as they provides range of experience for the visitors. Sagmeister also uses very bold overall look and feel that I felt is very effective and eye catching.
I really like this participatory piece he did, people are able to grab one of the gumball according to the level of happiness they are in and it reflected the real live statistic of happiness from the visitors.
Another highlight in this exhibition requires a bit of hardwork in cycling a bicycle. The more you pedal the visitor would get a giant message in front of them that involves doing the things you set out to do would increase your sense of well being.
He also make use of the existing objects in the museum to create some interesting and inspiring quotes for the visitor.
“Almost anything, will have some sort of influence on your happiness”
In an interview Sagmeister mention about almost anything, will have some sort of influence on your happiness. He also stated that he don’t think that anybody would be happier after this exhibition but he that his experience would be compiling enough that the visitor would try out the strategy themselves.
Another project I found was this Happiness Currency campaign by Hong Kong Pharmaceutical company, to rediscover the meaning of fortune. As statistic shown that Hong Kong residents focus more on their wealth but their happiness level were relatively low. Through this campaign they hope to remind them that happiness is also a fortune. The public can get voucher from any participated 40 local stores write and submit their happy stories to get “Fortune Dollar” that equals to HKD $15. Fortune Dollar can be used at those participated store to exchange for real goods. After that they made a short film of people coming from different background to talk about their definition of happiness. Ending with the your happiness is your greatest fortune.
I find this project rather relevant in today’s society. Sometimes we got lost in what we want in life and focus more on the material happiness. I find the part where they film people from different backgrounds to talk about it was quite interesting and there is about 6.3k views in facebook.
The definition of happiness are very different from each and everyone of us. But what really make us happy? Most of the time we are so tied down by our work that blinded us to appreciate small thing and enjoy small happiness.
From this probably can act as an reminder
Seeing definition of happiness of other people’s
Probably through some interactive experience “Bring back the child-like personality”
or making comparison
Stereotype Mindset [Labelling people?]
Putting the viewer in another perspective, by asking “What do you think other people think about you?” Probably have an interactive panel that they can click and choose those options so in the end there is statistic of what most people usually think about.
Guerrilla Projects place outside to see how people would react to certain conditions [public’s reaction]
playing with different perspective
I was really inspire by Martha Atienza, the way she keep on going just because she really love the sea and wanted to understand more about it. Nature is a subject that I am really interested in which probably I could learn a bit from her to continue doing what I like. I have touch on subject like conservation and also vegetarian diet so this time probably I might go for a different direction.