Works

Happiness

There’s a small concrete building situated in the public space, it looks like a cross between a public toilet and a pharmacy. This illicit store is manned by a humanoid, a human-looking robot. She talks to us about different drugs, painkillers and antidepressants we can use to tweak our emotional reality by re-jigging the serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain.In the combination of robotics and drugs, the work explores the zone where the human and the artificial merge; where, aided by synthetic substances we can rehumanise or become more than human. Or escape our human state entirely, for a while.

There’s a small concrete building situated in the public space, it looks like a cross between a public toilet and a pharmacy. This illicit store is manned by a humanoid, a human-looking robot. She talks to us about different drugs, painkillers and antidepressants we can use to tweak our emotional reality by re-jigging the serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain.In the combination of robotics and drugs, the work explores the zone where the human and the artificial merge; where, aided by synthetic substances we can rehumanise or become more than human. Or escape our human state entirely, for a while.

Video

Happiness Compilation (2019)

Happiness 25.16'

Press

“Happiness subtly explores the malleability of our emotions… empathy rather than the usual moralising.”

Fransien van der Putt wrote a review for Theaterkrant (03-09-2019)read the review (in Dutch)

“Absolutely fascinating… humans become mechanical and the mechanical becomes human”

A review by Hein Janssen in de Volkskrant newspaper (04-08-2019)read the review (in Dutch)

"For a radically different approach, Grapperhaus (Dutch Minister for Security) Halsema (mayor of Amsterdam) should check out Verhoeven’s installation. Not for advice on drug use but to see for themselves just how arbitrary the boundary is between sanctioned and illegal drugs—or between drugs used for medicinal and recreational purposes.”

Christiaan Weijts dedicated a column in het NRC newspaper to Happiness (30-08-2019)read the column (in Dutch)

“The muck has to go somewhere.”

For Mister Motley Selm Wenselaer interviewed Verhoeven about his installation Happiness at the NDSM-wharf and on the questionif art can still disrupt the public space (19-03-19)read the interview here (in Dutch)

“In Happiness, I try to imagine a world in which drugs are a part of everyday life. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether that is a utopian or dystopian vision of the future.”

In Dries Verhoevens new performance humanoid Amy plays the lead'. Herien Wensink de Volkskrant newspaper (25-07-2019)read the article here (in Dutch)

“If the doctor gives it to you, it’s fine. But if it comes from the dealer it's rubbish – that's what we think, but there’s more to it than that.”

Thomas van Huut interviewed Dries Verhoeven about Happiness for het NRC newspaper (30-07-2019)read the interview here (in Dutch)

Credits

concept Dries Verhoeven
production Studio Dries Verhoeven
dramaturgy Hella Godee
creation humanoid Chris Creatures Filmeffects
digital puppeteering Stefano Trambusti
director assistant  Bart van de Woestijne
voice Annie Saunders
sound Jimi Zoet
understudy Yurie Umamoto
costume Saskia Schoenmaker
production Olga Godschalk
assistent production Jennifer Welts
technique Roel Evenhuis
intern Charles Pas
software Sylvain Vriens
graphics Julia Berg

Happiness is made possible with the support of BPD Cultuurfonds, Fonds Fentener van Vlissingen, stimuleringsfonds creatieve industrie, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and BNG Cultuurfonds.