The Happy Show

May 2012

Am I happy?

It’s a question I ask myself constantly. I want to be part of a world changing organization, and yet, I find myself dreading the day-to-day route to contribution.  I want to spend more of my day being creative, but I want that creativity to count for something.

Am I unhappy?

If I am, am I choosing to be unhappy? Am I merely expecting too much? Am I complaining instead of trying to change?

These types of questions had me watching a lot of TED talks on the subject, and these investigations led me to Stefan Sagmeister, who was also questioning happiness through design and documentary.  When I learned Sagmeister was opening a show at the ICA in Philadelphia, I marked my calendar for the entire duration of the show in an effort not to miss this quirky, talented designer’s insights.  Memorial Day weekend proved to be the opportunity, and I highly recommend marking your own calendars and making a point of journeying to the show.

“I am usually rather bored with definitions.  Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” – Stefan Stagmeister

My card told me to do push ups, but listen Stefan, I didn’t feel like it, so I traded cards, and I was pretty happy with the trade.


This is true for all the little crap fights in my own life, as well as for all the BIG CONFLICTS in the WORLD.  I, and I suspect everybody else too, was born a giant egotist.  I have had all these experiences forming my reality, and very much by default, I am at the absolute center of every experience I’ve ever had. These experiences are completely immediate while everybody else’s feelings have to be communicated to me, so of course it’s difficult to truly understand someone else’s reality formed by different experiences.

-Stefan Sagmeister

To participate or not to participate?  The precarious question made popular by postmodernists who sought/seek to break the rules of museums and galleries. We took Sagmeister as the kind of guy who would want us to share his favorite ginger candy from Bali, so we did.

[so sad]

What is my symbol of happiness?

[It’s not inappropriate because… it’s ART..!]

Welllll….[menacing look]…

The Happy Show didn’t draw any final conclusions, for how could it? Can one man really define happiness for many, let alone himself? Maybe.  He is on the journey at least.  I will say, his exhibit was thought provoking, moving and inspiring.

What did I conclude?  What did I really submit as my symbol of happiness?

A beautiful outdoor dining experience for a few, which is why I’m sharing my wanderings through this exhibit on this, the corner of posterity and blogosphere. As the image came to mind, it affirmed my goals and where I’m going.  I want to bring people together and help create the magical moments they remember all of their lives.  If, in the process, I can contribute to a world changing company, all the better, but I have to focus my attention more resolutely. I also have to choose to be happier.

Sorry, fresh out of money.  Stop back later though.


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