Public Art Installation by Dries Verhoeven
A little concrete building on a public square. It is a strange combination of pharmacy and public toilet. One can enter the building. Inside, one finds a sort of counter with a humanoid robot behind a glass pane. She speaks to the visitor. She explains the properties of various painkillers, anti-depressants, drugs. Mind-altering substances that can change people’s emotional states by adjusting their brains’ serotonin and dopamine levels.
The Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven explores the nature of artificial happiness in his public art installation “Happiness.” In a space where the human and the artificial meet, people can become more humane or superhuman with the help of synthetic substances. For a while, they can even transcend the human condition altogether. Verhoeven’s works walk a fine line between performance and art installation. They activate audiences and confront them with their own emotions. They invite you to try out a new perspective and to ponder your own state of existence.