HappyLand is an artist-made traveling circus that contains unusual games, prizes, b-movie screenings, and multiple performances involving the artists as clowns, side-show performers, and HappyLand employees.
In 1940, Bernard Langlais left his home state of Maine, set on pursuing a career in commercial art. His childhood studio—a loft space over his grandparents' barn—was filled with his early artistic exploits: comic strips, painted banners for local sports games, and cartoon drawings.
Aimlessness is a quality that has profound aspects of civil disobedience when theorized within the correct framework: as a technique for an anti-dominant ideological critique through the means of the Dérive. Within Debord’s framework of prompting us as social revolutionaries to remap our monotonous environments within a psychogeographic context, we can create multiple modes of experimentation, play, and co-optation through his basic framework.
We are a lonely society. Most of the time we’re working or struggling to stay afloat and in between we comfort ourselves with haphazard friendships, professional networks, family and possibly marriage. We call these things “communities” even though they are all disconnected, fragmented, and don’t really support us.
John Cage believed that anthropocentric art and music was trivial, and that beyond individuals, nature herself had an intrinsic expressivity found in elements such as trees, rocks, and water. It is with these ideas in mind that we can reflect on Maria Elena González’s Skowhegan Birch #1, 2012, a multi-disciplinary work in which birch bark forms the blueprint for player piano rolls, and ultimately the music produced by the rolls themselves.
But what exactly is a collection? How to define the parameters of a finite set? Do we define the characteristics of the collection in advance of its actual acquisition, then accept only those objects that qualify? Or do we determine the character of the collection by afterwards assessing the unifying traits of things amassed?
Over many years studying art history and then working at Dia Art Foundation, I came to understand Skowhegan as a place where new art practices emerged, relationships were forged, and artists experienced something entirely unique and important that in turn had a profound impact on the trajectories of contemporary artmaking.
Sarah Workneh sat down with Paul Pfeiffer for a quick chat, a kebab, and an unexpected exploding bottle of water.
“In the process of listening or reading or looking, mental images begin to form in my head. I associate the moment of insight with visual thinking because flashes of inspiration come to me in the form of mental images.”