When making radio, we listen for visual cues — and Marie Howe’s description of the “Happiness Here” circles certainly brought an image into our heads:
“I mean there’s this guy in New York. I say it’s a guy. It could be a woman. Last Spring, there was somebody who was drawing on the sidewalk in blue chalk and all it said was happiness, a big happiness with a big blue arrow this way. And I would see these around and I thought this is terrific. This is really kind of wonderful. Like, happiness is this way, that way. And one day, I was waiting for my daughter and her friends to get off one bus and we were going to get on another. And there was the big blue chalk and it said happiness. And then there was a big circle drawn on the sidewalk and it said here. And everybody who walked by stood in the circle. We did too.”
With a simple idea and chalk, the Mazeking’s street art welcomes people to stand inside and see how it feels:
“I wanted to create something interactive, free for all to see and use which provoked thought about what happiness is.”
As State Poet of New York, Marie Howe takes inspiration from this project:
“What I want is to try to make poetry as ubiquitous as Gap ads. I mean how can we have people bump into poetry?”
Take a look at the artist’s video profiling people’s reactions to being “in happiness.” How would you react?