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 Presse France Happython

Happiness just hangs from a thread (L'Express 26th April 2004)

In order to reduce pessimism, an artist has gathered hundreds of testimonies… on washing ines.  Thierry Vermont, a 40 year old artist, has launched an original project to fight against the general wave of pessimism : he has been collecting written testmonies of small moments of happiness for the last six years.  Examples: “What makes me happy is to go and see an LOSC football match with my friends” “Samir 14 years”)  Happiness for me is to be on a training course with my friends” (Fabienne 37 years).  These illustrations which come to him from all over typed on an A4 format and are hung on washing lines, like sparrows on wires ready to travel all over France, are displayed as an art form in post offices. The goal of the operation: “To change our viewpoint of the world which is often pessimistic. In thinking of moments of happiness, the spectator changes his mental universe and become more altruistic” explains Vermont.

Passers by in the street or web surfers wandering through the “Happython” site, there are more than 20 000 anonymous contributors who have spread what Vermont calls the “Happiness Virus”; the most deserving of whom will be “Oscarized” during the happening on the 30th April in the context of Lille 2004 European Capital of Culture, at the ‘de Mons Fort’ in Baroeul, where the adventure began.  With these moments of happiness which “allow us to live tolerantly, responsibly and with a spirit of initiative” the artist wants to shake up society a little.  What is more he has set up a virtual stock exchange of true values, such as solidarity or responsibility.  Well, didn’t Voltaire say that he had decided to be happy because it was good for the health?

Virginie Leray

 

 

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