Happython

A point of view by...

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A point of view by...

« ... now, I wish to pay special and personal tribute to Thierry Vermont, for the use he made of the mass medias and of the information space, both as a place for expression, communication, retroaction and exhibitions, that is a place of multidimensional art. He is, as far as I know, one of the rare artists of the new generation who has understood the full importance of a media like the daily press to ‘experiment’ new forms of participatory art which are fully in sync with the spirit of the times. (...)

Extract from the preface of the book by Thierry Vermont : ‘You are the artist of your life !… even on those rainy Monday mornings, you know what I mean.' Coming out soon.

Fred
Forest
, multimedia and networks artist, PhD at the ParisUniversity of the Sorbonne and co-creator of the « Collectif d'Art Sociologique ».


"I met Thierry Vermont, the 'artist and author of this project, right at the beginning of the dynamic, back in 1998, just before « Le Printemps des Poêtes » (Poets’spring).

His enthusiasm and his determination seem to have not failed over the years. He has widened his concept towards new axes : Internet, a major city exhibition in Mons en Baroeul for Lille 2004 : Culture Capital of Europe, where thousands of testimonies were collected and exhibited.

This artistic approach of « city exhibitions », where the inhabitants of the city are considered artists of their lives and of the city they live in, is indeed an original approach where communal values are given space to emerge in unexpected places. This model, an inspiring and positive alternative way, gives the opportunity for job seekers to develop the « Virus of Services and Happiness » in the city they live in, at their neighbours’, friends’ and relatives’ aiming for a final exhibition where everyone finally meets. His initiative leads to develop this simple yet ambitious idea : the desire to be a participative citizen and the desire to be happy create a space to develop and into which a collective work of art can start appearing : Europe.

Art can make time run faster, and take so little time to change what nature sometimes takes ages to accomplish. If hatching of human values and happiness are inherent to the evolution of moral, project like this one, combining game, ethic, interaction, cooperation and creation are right to be, and it could take so little to make the difference, it could even be a breath of life coming from you, passing near you, growing through you.

Jack Lang, Pas de Calais County Deputy, former French Minister for Culture and Education


Question
: Given the fact no other city had ever ventured the Happython before, what motivated you to set your city,  Mons en Baroeul, to the game?

« First of all, we got motivated by the theme ! Information is often axed towards problems, difficulties, sure the world is not merely pink ! It’s a real good thing to invite people to positive introspection, simply by asking this little question “ What makes, or has made, you happy ?” people get the opportunity to look back on those little magical moments of their lives,  to share them, it is such a beautiful counter-current approach, a unique open path to oxygen ! This is so refreshing ! At first, when Happiness Agents ask the happy question, people often feel surprise. Then, eyes start to shine and… all this leads to a beautiful dynamic relayed by everyone in town (shops, associations, etc. ) This original move lead to happenings during « Lille 2004, Cultural Capital of Europe » for which the city of Mons was much involved. Thousands of happy testimonies were collected among the city population : from the youngsters to the elders ! Some testimonies are touching, some funny, some are moving...  Most of them show how happiness is often related to others!  ... and how contagious it is ! And what about you ? What makes, or has made, you happy ? »

Rudy Elegeest, City Mayor - Mons-en-Baroeul - France