The Happy People series

The Happy Family / original 6min 21sec / excerpt 2min 54sec

The Happy Tourist / original 8min 50sec / excerpt 3min 41sec

The Happy Employee / original 6min 41sec / excerpt 3min 5sec


The Happy Family (Loop 6min 21sec)
The Happy Tourist (Loop 8min 50sec)
The Happy Employee (Loop 6min 41sec)
Video Installations / HD / Colour / Sound / English

Despite of no significant definition and measurement, happiness is generally understood as something that people aim or wish for, and becoming something, which frequently re-valued in order to balance human needs. In the popular culture, where therapeutic and self-help became an ordinary discourse, happiness is used to re-describe social norms, values, and roles in a form of capital. Happiness is both produced and consumed banally through the media in ’how to live better’ or living ’rightly’ discourse and this condition drives the society in justifying it’s products to be associated with happiness.

This series shows a re-enactment of a family studio photo shooting, a tourist photo shoot and the photo shoot of the Employee of the Month. In The Happy Family, the switching roles of the mother, the father and the child are represented by three single people, who themselves have no children and are in their twenties and thirties period. The photographer confronts them both as individuals and as a group with stereotypical narratives of family and familial relationships. In The Happy Tourist, the roles of the tourists, who are also the photographers, are played by two people who come from different countries. The photographer uses common travel experiences, stories or clichés of tourism to construct the perfect happy tourist moment. And in The Happy Employee, the roles of the employees are represented by six people, who are finishing their studies and now entering the work field. In order to find the best role model of the month, the photographer, who is also the boss, uses narratives that come from work regulations and self-help texts for employees.

Every piece is installed with a set of headphones and a plasma TV or a projection, which is installed horizontally (or vertically) onto a human size canvas.

© Rizki Resa Utama