The happy show in Chicago

CNC reporting from Chicago
Added On July 15, 2013

Can people train their minds to be happy,just as the same way they train their bodies?

Could I train my mind to be happy, the same way one trains one's body?

That's a question the renowned Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister tries to answer or explore in his "Happy Show".

The Happy Show comes to Chicago Cultural Center Saturday and Lifestyles takes you there on a journey of happiness.

The Happy Show, a thematic exhibition of film, print, infographics, sculptures and interactive installations offers visitors the experience of walking into Sagmeister’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness through various methods.

This exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister's diary and displayed in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms.

While The Happy Show presents much to be seen, it's also an exhibition in which guests may participate.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors to The Happy Show will select a gumball from a wall of gumball machines labeled 1-10 on the happiness scale, as Sagmeister seeks to learn the happiness level of the show's attendees.

Sagmeister's quest to learn if one can train the mind as one trains the body includes a stationary bicycle which requires visitors to pedal in order to receive a series of messages.

The first words light up after a couple of seconds of pedaling. In order to see the entire sentence, about a minute of vigorous pedaling is necessary. And there is a bonus message for the very determined rider.

There is also a push button that dispenses a card with instructions on how to behave during the visit. The messages are things like "Walk through the exhibit and pretend you are the artist" or "ask someone at the exhibition to draw a picture of you".

At a hanging frame, visitors are invited to smile at it and the color of the light shining on Sagmeister’s text towers of sugar cubes can be altered.

The fun exhibition has attracted many visitors.

SOUNDBITE: DAVID SWARTZ, Visitor
"I think the show is fantastic. It's really uplifting and positive. Just the way how they put it together: bright colors makes you think about what causes happiness for yourself and for others and you know whenever you're presented with questions that make you think, it gives you new insight and new ideas and it's just a positive exhibit. It's nice. It's happy."

SOUNDBITE: ELENA, Visitor
"It’s just the kind of idea of looking around and realizing that the world is not as big as you think it is. And we kind of center our problems around what we think at the moment. And then you look around everybody else has their own problems too. So yeah, like you said, it's like profound thoughts."

The artist personalizes the exhibit with his thoughts and observations. This personal layer of artist text has been a unique addition to each city's exhibition of The Happy Show.

Exhibit at the Yates Gallery includes the unusual and amusing site of giant inflatable white monkeys serve as a vehicle for a text-based piece.

The Austrian-born artist Sagmeister now resides in New York City and is well known for his design work, including album covers for Talking Heads, Lou Reed and The Rolling Stones. The Happy Show, closing on September 23 in Chicago, will move to Paris afterwards.