“The beach; it brings me back to my childhood which was a time full of joy”
“Swings; I feel I can connect with my childhood when I felt safe and secure”
"Singing. When I sing I let myself go, and that is when I feel pure happiness"
“Capoeira; it enables me to fully express myself”
"Fighting for justice. As an asylum seeker it is a non-stop fight that helps me to hold on"
"Everything under God"
"Being surrounded by loved ones"
"Love. All kinds"
"Cycling naked. That gives me temporary happiness, I am still discovering what really makes me happy"
"Finding things without digging is my ultimate source of happiness"
"Freedom to act without any burden or responsibilities"
"Exploring the unknown"
Friends and family, they are the root of my happiness"
"A life without struggle"
"Peace. If I knew there was peace in the world that my children are growing up in, I would be a happier man"
"Fate and all it's mysteries"
"Skateboarding, rolling cigarettes, beer"
"Honesty. Happiness stems from life-experiences, and from my experience honesty has never failed to make me happy"
"Friends and family. Those are the ones that help you to get by"
The Quantum of Happiness
In our increasingly global culture, standardisation reduces more and more of our lives to numbers and what can be measured, for the sake of global comparisons.
There is an over-reliance on statistics and empirical data, as scientific methods are believed to provide hard evidence and be more objective - when objective and evidence are associated with measurement.
Even happiness has been reduced to what can be measured and quantified, so that it can be compared globally. The sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly in 2011 adopted the Agenda item 13: Resolution 65/309 - an agreement to measure development in terms of happiness.
Since then, there has been an explosion in ‘Happinomics’ - different ways of measuring happiness. For example the ‘World Database of Happiness’, ‘The Happy Planet Index’, and maps of happiness around the world.
As aspects of our lives are dehumanised and reduced to statistics, we might forget the complexity and beautiful richness of human life.
This project explores some of the multi-layered and abundant aspects of happiness that become lost behind numbers. It presents what happiness means to people around London. Together the portraits celebrate the unquantifiable of happiness.