text 'fragments of happiness'
for exposition Antidotes from the Dismal Science, installation
strange birds
Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag, 2009

Fragments of happiness

A combination of seemingly unrelated things creates logical relationships. Using concepts related to the rhizome metaphor I collect and analyse newspaper clippings. Questions arise, I look for answers and ask new questions. Signs of the new times emerge. This associative manner of research is the basis of my work as an artist.

Some fragments. How do they relate? Do they relate?

The second half of the previous century was characterised by globalisation, secularisation and the advent of the internet. Many felt liberated when they moved outside the straightjackets of social class and religion. It was possible to connect across social and religious barriers. Individuals organised collective action for their own benefit, international organisations were greatly helped by the internet. But there was another side to this as well, as soon became clear: superficial contacts, a sense of ‘not belonging’, a lacking social safety net and loneliness.

Living in a commercial society where consumption is the driving force, we are no longer surprised by anything. We zap through life without focus. No single image actually hits us right in the heart. Only very painful and shocking images make a difference. The system damages our personal integrity; it is extremely difficult to be loyal to one’s inner self.We all need positive experiences to survive, but everybody will have to develop his or her own strategy for happiness.
It is surprising to discover that globalisation goes hand in hand with ‘cocooning’. Our home is our castle and we are all armchair solvers of the world’s problems: problems that do not really touch our soul.

Meanwhile we live in a new millennium. We survived 9-11, 6-5, 11-2, 12-26, 7-7 and the autumn of 2008. So what does this mean? Where are we going? What is happening to our world?
Perhaps the solution is to start with the world and the realisation that this is our world. This world is governed by fear and uncertainty. Some resist and protest. Others search for facts and or explanations. The old world with values, norms and certainties does not exist anymore. We need to search for new structures, for a new order. That new reality will be man made. Is it a real reality or just an artifact?

Thus we see people move in two directions: fragmented individualism versus a movement that is political and global and wants to strengthen social cohesion. New perspectives on the world are created, actually getting people involved and outside the system’s pressure.

Let’s be involved. Let’s take local initiatives. Let’s take time for our daily activities. Let’s enjoy what we do.

Remember: Life is fun!

Liesbeth Bos