Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, Edward Scheer


‘In case of rapture this car will be empty’ reads a bumper–bar sticker popular among certain Evangelical Christian sects.  In this event, it is envisaged that the world will be ravaged and only true believers will be saved in a performance of ecstatic, glorious mutual transformation: an image of happiness in extremis replicated throughout the violent ideologies and practices of fundamentalist cults around the world. A literal exemplification of Zygmunt Bauman’s provocation: ‘Is progress towards happiness to be measured by thinning out the bevy of fellow travellers?’ (2008: 25). Meanwhile, other slightly less eschatological experiences of happiness are no less performative nor less deeply felt in the body.  Ecstasies of sex, food, narcotics, shopping, travel, sunshine, ‘magnificent’ and ‘excessive’ (Bauman, 2008: 25) forms of consumption alongside the thrills of the will to power are all vehicles for the pursuit of happiness. As such they are transformative of contemporary experience, in modelling, controlling and inspiring states of happiness.  In this respect, performance might always be an artefact conceived of as an ‘Image of Happiness’ (Marina Abramovic, 1996), something radically different to everyday neurosis and potentially generative of new propositions for life.

Full Text:



Abramovic, Marina ‘Image of Happiness’ (Netherlands: Netherlands Media Art Institute, 1996) 24'24'' (sound, colour)

Bauman, Zygmunt ‘Happiness in a Society of Individuals’ in Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture 38 (Spring 2008) 19-28

Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000)


  • There are currently no refbacks.