‘Cause you're happy’
The Happiness Machine
What is "happiness" and where do you find it? As we gather more and more people around us online, we seem to be increasingly looking for happiness outside of ourselves. Can you actually feel better about yourself when others tell you that you are fantastic? And how long does this kind of happiness last? The Happiness Machine serves as a research capsule for the next show of dance company Club Guy & Roni.
Studio LONK installed the Happiness Machine at the Netherlands' largest theater festival Oerol. The interactive work places each visitor on a public pedestal for a short time. While filling in a short psychological intake form, we unnoticeably register some unique physical qualities of the visitor (a big smile, curly hair, nice t-shirt, etc.). In the closed cabin one is overwhelmed by befitting compliments from a convincing, sensual voice. Each visitor receives a personal treatment, which - although generated by interactive software - feels very genuine. After the "boost" of self-confidence, the walls of the cabin fall open, the applause and rousing music start, and the visitor proudly presents himself to a cheering audience.
In addition to offering a special experience, we also collect some data from the participants. The intake forms are based on the Oxford happiness questionnaire and also ask about the online activities of the visitors. In addition, a webcam records facial expression and physical reactions while the cabin opens. The results are, of course, only representative of the Oerol audience (average age 41, 69% female) and serve primarily as inspiration for Club Guy & Roni. Above all, the Happiness Machine gave Oerol visitors a lot of pleasure, and we made them think about the intrinsic and extrinsic sources of happiness.