Art collective Invisible Flock would like you to join them for a conversation and they would also like you to bring something. Not a bottle or a picnic, a friend – or even the noise. They simply want you to Bring the Happy.

Bring the Happy is a new, nationwide project – part public art, part installation, part performance – with, at its heart, an attempt to map the happiness of the UK. Basically, it revolves around a simple idea – asking people to place a moment of happiness onto a map of their town or city; from the uncomplicated to the life-changing, the bitter sweet nostalgia of the elderly to stories of stolen first kisses by teenagers.

By locating itself in the centres of some of Britain’s most diverse towns and cities, the artists from Invisible Flock want to ask ordinary people about their most treasured moments and memories of happiness, which they will then place onto giant 3-D maps.

Artists Ben Eaton, Victoria Pratt and Richard Warburton will ask passers-by to describe their key moment of happiness, explaining where it happened and, on a scale of 1-10, how happy it made them.

Each individual memory will then be marked onto the map with a 3-dimensional acrylic rod, the height of which is determined by a 1-10 happiness rating. During the three week visit to each destination, a 3-D landscape of the various communities and their inhabitants’ sense of wellbeing will begin to emerge.

Each memory is also digitally recorded onto an online, interactive map that can be browsed and added to from anywhere in the world. This growing archive of every collected story, no matter how big or small, will, at the end of the project represent a unique, permanent document of those thousands of moments of happiness. More at http://www.invisibleflock.co.uk/bringthehappy

At the end of the project’s tenure in each location, the newly collected memories are transformed into a raucous, celebratory musical show – somewhere between a wedding and a wake – performed with 6-piece band, Hope & Social.

Bring the Happy was originally undertaken in Leeds for two months in 2010, where it took up residence in an empty retail unit in the Light Shopping Centre before moving to Leeds’ Kirkgate Market.

Such was the passionate response, that Invisible Flock has received a Strategic Touring grant from Arts Council England to take the project on a national tour, as Ben Eaton explains: “Gradually, we will be able to construct a countrywide portrait of happiness, as stories from one city are layered on top of stories from another. The happiness of London will be told alongside that of Stockton and Barnsley, for example – so we will create a unique and hugely illuminating map of the UK, and its people. The end result will achieve what one magazine described as, ‘a way of understanding how we live today and how we lived yesterday – a living document of a city.”

Victoria Pratt adds “In Barnsley we are looking to run the installation in the market, as it is a well-used high footfall location whilst in Coventry a high street shopping centre is looking more likely. At face value it is about happiness but in reality it becomes a vehicle for people to consider where they live, to be able to express their grievances as well their memories of happiness.”

Richard Warburton concludes: “Bring the Happy is a touring project that is about people and the places they live and is designed to engage those who do not normally attend art events, especially not interactive contemporary art. It does this without judging and patronising them. We want to engage traditional art audiences, while reaching out to new ones to the extent where passers-by can engage, albeit fleetingly.”

Invisible Flock – Bring the Happy National Tour 2013/14

Warwick Arts Centre – Coventry
Mapping – 8th – 26th April 2013
Performances – 1st/2nd May 2013 @ 7.30pm

Tunbridge Wells Festival
Mapping – 5th – 9th August 2013
Performances – 10th August @ 2pm and 7.30pm

Stockton ARC, Stockton on Tees
Mapping – 7th – 26th October 2013
Performances – 1st November @ 7.30pm and 2nd November @ 2pm and 7.30pm

Barnsley Civic, Barnsley
Mapping – 11th – 30th November 2013
Performances – 6th/7th December @ 7.30pm

Leeds TBC
Performances only, December 2013

Northcott, Exeter
Mapping – 3rd – 22nd March 2014
Performances – 27th, 28th 29th March 2014

London TBC
June/July 2014

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