Not in Another Place, But This Place…(Happiness)

Not in Another Place, But This Place…(Happiness), three-channel video installation, 2014, duration 16:29 min

For this piece Leenaars explored the political and social nature of happiness, guided by questions such as “Who is responsible for happiness?” and “How can individual perceptions about happiness be translated into a collective story?” As an artist-in residence Leenaars immersed herself in the Edgewater community, establishing the “Bureau for Investigations of Strategies for Happiness, Community, and Policy Development,” a pop-up space used to conduct interviews. Neighbors, city workers, the Alderman, the district police commander, high school students were welcomed to talk about what happiness meant to them. Leenaars invited all participants to join the cast, using the months of interviews to generate a loose script for Happiness. Interview answers led to drawings that became the inspiration for the set and the actions performed on the set. The performances about personal and communal happiness, were collectively performed at the local high school auditorium. Some of these acts are literal, others symbolic relating to the subjective and communal nature of happiness. These vignettes became the material for a 3-channel video installation shown in the neighborhood and various institutional spaces.

 

Concept/Direction: Kirsten Leenaars, Camera: Paul Deuth, Will Goss, Audio: Mathew Jinks, Composer: Dan Bitney.

 

Participants: Robert Kane, Mike Specht, Paula Basta, Thom Greene, Tom Tresser, Lori Waxman, Renee Waxman, Ron Waxman, Ann O’ Connor, Allen Stryzack, Bill Van Eck, Liz Joynt Sandberg, Julie De Grandpre, Ginger Williams, Camille Laut, Emma Sims, Jacob Reedy, TJ Nieset, Sam Goldstein, Keith Buchholz, Keith Buchholz jr, Layla Muchnik, Jiyun Park, Nick, Kniola, Damian Sandoval, Kimberlee Ombalino, Michael Alvarez, Samuel Choi, Zoe Steinhardt, Vanessa Manuel, Fermin Espino, Jaylon Allen.

Not in Another Place, But This Place…(Happiness), Installation views, RISK, 2014