Happiness | By Dries Verhoeven

Happiness explores the area where man and artificiality converge, where synthetic substances help us to re-humanise, maxi-humanise or, for a while, abandon our humanness altogether. In his latest work, Dries explores the world of artificial happiness that is available to us in the form of drugs, painkillers and antidepressants. On the street there is a small pharmacy. A humanoid—a human-looking robot—works in there as a pharmacy assistant. She tells us about the various products we can use to tweak our serotonin and dopamine levels, and by doing so, shape our reality. Are we moving closer to a world in which we can be lyrical on command, and our emotions programmable?

Happiness is a coproduction with Stichting NDSM-werf & SPRING Performing Arts Festival.

Photos by :Willem Popelier

About Studio Dries Verhoeven

Dries Verhoeven (1976 Oosterhout, the Netherlands) is a theatre maker and visual artist.

Dries Verhoeven creates installations, performances and happenings in museums, on location and in the public spaces of cities. On the boundary between performance and installation art, he critically evaluates the relationships between the spectators, performers, everyday reality and art. The spectator is directly involved in the work or given the opportunity to steer his or her own experiences.

In his work, Verhoeven highlights aspects of the common social reality in which we live. He is not concerned with conveying a statement about reality, but mainly about unbalancing the visitor in order to evoke a shared vulnerability between the viewer and the viewed work. With gestures, which radically affect the public order of everyday life, he hopes to sow the seeds of doubt about the systems that inconspicuously influence our thoughts and actions. In recent years, the current crisis mind-set and the influence of digital media on interpersonal relationships in particular have formed the basis for his projects.

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