Saturday, April 7, 2012


By Eva Fydrych

Happiness and Other Survival Techniques

All photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

LONDON, UK - Happiness and Other Survival Techniques, an exhibition inspired by COLORS magazine's trilogy, opened at the Design Museum on Tuesday, 3 April 2012. Fashion Studio Magazine attended a press preview and had an opportunity to interview Enrico Bossan who is the Editorial Director of COLORS.

FASHION STUDIO: What was the inspiration behind this exhibition?

ENRICO BOSSAN: We wanted to show the new way, the new point of view and try another approach to global issues that are important to all of us. We asked the question: What is the future? and tried to find a pragmatic solution. We wanted to show how individual people around the world deal with the universal problems that we all face in our everyday lives. We believe in people.

FASHION STUDIO: Who is your target audience? Who is this exhibition for?

ENRICO BOSSAN: Initially we thought about the younger generation, but the exhibition is actually for everyone interested in the new problematic social issues, in what lies behind our multiethnic societies. For people who understand deep ideas and have the right attitude, people concerned about our future.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your personal definition of happiness?

ENRICO BOSSAN: Happiness is the feeling that you can never hold for long. You have it and you loose it five seconds later. It is an aspiration, something that you are trying to achieve through your whole life and you never really get.

However, it is something so necessary that we can't really live without it. It pushes you to change your life, to become a better person. Without it, there is no future, no present, no past.

Enrico Bossan - Editorial Director of COLORS

All photos by Eva Fydrych


COLORS 83 cover (Illustration by James Graham)

COLORS 83 - Happiness: a survival guide

What does make you happy? From Aristotle to the Dalai Lama, from Epicurus to joggers in the park – we all spend most of our lives trying to find happiness. With its 83rd edition, COLORS offers a survival guide to happiness worldwide, investigating approaches to joy from neuroscience to plastic surgery, Prozac and positive psychology. A handbook on how to activate dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals in your brain which are, scientifically speaking, the only things you really enjoy. 

"Happiness is a place" exclaims the new slogan of the Bhutan tourist board, the little kingdom perched in the Himalayas between India and China. In 1972, the then 17-year-old fourth Dragon King declared that "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Income". From that moment on, the government decided to work for a policy of national happiness, to improve the well-being of the population, by defining its objectives according to a series of spiritual, social, cultural, environmental and economic indicators. However after years of enquiries, questionnaires, interviews and surveys about happiness, Bhutan still stands in 133rd place out of 177 countries in the UN index of development on living conditions, despite being the economy with the second fastest growth rate in the world.

From left to right: Sagarsunar, 10, Jigme Nidup, 8, Jitbdr, 15, and Nawraj, 7 playing Nepal
versus Bhutan in Punakha, Bhutan. (Photo by James Mollison)

41-year-old Ryuchi Ichinokawa from Chiba in Japan rents surrogate friends to people who feel lonely. With his agency "I want to cheer you up", he employs about 50 people. His clients include girls whose boyfriends are too busy, so they rent an actor to go to the tailor and try on their tuxedo; children who rent parents to take part in the marathons organised by their school, or men whose wives discover that they had been unfaithful, so they present them a rented lover taken especially for the occasion. 

In South Korea, a "Living Funeral" is a therapy in which patients attend their own funeral in order to reconnect with the will to live. Participants dress in a shroud, write their wills, and then spend several minutes closed inside a coffin. The practice helps prevent suicides (South Korea has one of the highest suicide rate in the world) and some of Korea's biggest firms are fans, including Samsung and Hyundai Motor Company, which has made experiencing your own funeral mandatory for many employees, partly to prevent suicides among their staff, partly to motivate them to lead a more gratifying life.

Lim Su-jeong and her mother Kim Ok-ran in their coffins at Service 119 Academy,
Daegu City, South Korea. (Photo by Jean Chung)

Marisco and N.H. Flight of the Eagle work at the Bellingham health and rehabilitation centre in Washington, USA. They are both licensed psychotherapists and they are greeted enthusiastically when they stop at patients' bedsides for a hug and kiss. But they are not human therapists, they are actually two extremely hairy fifty-kilo llamas. Nonetheless they get great results in rehabilitating patients at the centre, many of whom unfortunately only ever get to enjoy cuddles and strokes with these cute animals. 

Rarajipari is the traditional “ball race” of the Tarahumara, indigenous Mexican people with a superhuman capacity for running. All along the Barranca del Cobre, Tarahumara will run after a small wooden ball for dozens of hours, day or night. When they catch up with it, they immediately throw it again and give chase. The races take a severe physical toll. So why do them? Research suggests the Tarahumara do not run solely for the pleasure of keeping fit: they may in fact be physically addicted to the act of running and the chemical compounds, such as dopamine, running delivers to their brains. Which is why scuffling after a ball in the dark can sometimes make sense. 

Source: COLORS

Tarahumara woman racing in the 2009 100-kilometer Ultramaraton de los CaƱones, Guachochi,
Mexico. (Photo by Marcos Ferro)

Read more about the exhibition: THE SURVIVAL GUIDE

Happiness and Other Survival Techniques
3-13 April 2012
Design Museum
Shad Thames
London SE1 2YD

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