Well after 3 years I’m very happy to announce that this project is finished. Thank you for the support.
The Happiness machine is framed and stored away until further notice. The picture itself is sandwiched between two sheets of glass, and framed by an aluminium and polished steel cabinet (though as you can see the polished steel is currently protected by a thick black film). It’s heavy„„about a quarter of a ton. Most of that weight is the thick laminate glass of course.
There are 100cm x 70cm limited edition lithograph prints now available at www.marklascellesthornton.com (I’ve kept these as reasonably priced as possible.
I’ve also started work on 50 half scale versions, which will be pretty expensive. About the price of a family volkswagen I should imagine, or one of those hybrid things…the Priam. No Priam was the king of Troy, I mean the Toyota Prius. I might be willing to make a trade actually, and not accept cash, and just take 50 hybrids. I’d prefer Volkswagen’s to be honest. I’ve had two of them, and their engineering means they are practically indestructible. Which leads me back to my frames.
I’m putting a lot of design and fabrication effort into these limited edition of 50. I’m just sourcing cotton papers, and running a few tests. They will also be framed in polished steel cabinet’s, engraved and numbered.
I’ve also started work on some new projects, which I’m excited about. I’ll have more news on this, and some further information regarding exhibiting the above, very soon. Thanks again xx
THE HAPPINESS MACHINE
Mark Lascelles Thornton
Cities have become increasingly obsessed with images and image-making. Iconic buildings often have a narcotic effect that diminishes social and political awareness. Architectural design is threatened to be reduced to the superficial play of seductive forms; while the urban space of lived experience has been downgraded to a codified system of signification.
The “Happiness Machine” reminds us that “space” is the flesh that flatters the bones of architecture. It brings back to light the fact that “to change life is to change space; to change space is to change life”. The artist Mark Lascelles Thornton reclaims the city-scapes as a decisive “lived moment”. He approaches places of megalopolis (such as London, Chicago, New York, Shanghai, and Taipei) that are constructed not only of steel and concrete but of ideas. He engraves the urban environment as a thought experience.
The “Happiness Machine” story begins on ground level, with footsteps. An artist, a citizen who resists to adopt the operation of walking as an activity similar to window shopping. After all a place can not be made habitable or believable only by clothing it with a “word”. It needs narration. A narration that rests upon the ability to form an urban environment where we encounter with people and we project ideas.
By collecting the world’s most iconic architectural superstructures across a single frame, forming an imaginary metropolis - it moves the question regarding architectural production from “what” to “how”, from objectification to connotative creation. The project highlights a forgotten urban value; that the social innovation for our cities should be visible through the re- establishment of Architecture as a social art; as a means of making society and everyday life visible.
Observing this picture we recall that the city is an oeuvre, closer to a work of art than to a material product of consumption. Our cities breathe through the wave of citizen’s memories that flows in, and thus the spaces are being transformed from acting as a reflection of society, to be the society.
Cities. Do we need a user’s manual? Do we comprehend space as process and in process? Have we reached the point to where the “lived” urban environment means the urbanisation of the mind?
Space. Urban space. Social space. Physical space… you name it· has been colonised, commodified, bought and sold, used and abused, produced and torn down. But underneath the black and red ink layers of the “Happiness Machine”, lies the murmuring voice of a society asking whether their city still exist as a vanishing act or a cultural dialogue.
Description text by Maria Sfyraki
Maria Sfyraki is an architect, urban planner and curator from Greece. She was also a columnist for Savior Ville, and has written extensively about architecture and urbanism.
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