Happiness | Collaborative Performance

Happiness is both intangible and fleeting.  Without its opposing extremes of depression and sadness, it would not exist as a knowable thing.  Equally an even-keeled emotional state makes it fathomable.  Happiness can seem trite, especially as the subject matter for artistic inquiry.  That in and of itself makes it ripe for exploration and much more complicated to articulate than we might expect (and very personal and cultural at that).

Summer Lee and Christy Chan have tackled its complications in a performance and installation called H.A.P.P.I.N.E.S.S. at Studio 110 Gallery.  It seems imperative that this piece stems from a collaboration, one that retains the individual contributions of each artist but creates a dialogue otherwise unattainable.  Chan and Lee chose to establish rules for their collaborative performance.  Each brought five “cultural artifacts relating to happiness” to the gallery and spent five hours making the installation or performing the piece.  Neither knew what the other would bring nor did they extensively discuss the theme.  They worked for the five hours in silence.  The performance was videotaped from two closely related but differing perspectives within the gallery space, each with its own particular view of the ensuing creation. 

-Laura Boles Faw


 Gallery invitation to performance

Gallery invitation to performance

Exhibition Essay by Laura Foles Baw