The Happiness Machine

| by Mark Lascelles Thornton |

^ click on the image and zoom in to look at the details. click here to view the entire picture

> Rotring Isograph pen - Red and Black ink on Arches paper [8 sheets of A1] > 8ft x 5ft [9.5ft x 7ft framed]

> August 2011 - June 2014 > 10130 hours

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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. The artist Mark Lascelles Thornton reclaims the city-scapes as a decisive “lived moment”. He engraves the urban environment as a thought experience.
The “Happiness Machine” by collecting the world’s most iconic architectural superstructures forming an imaginary metropolis, 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.
By viewing 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· they have 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” project, lies the murmuring voice of society asking whether their city still exists as a vanishing act or a cultural dialogue.

| by Maria Sfyraki > Architect/Urban Planner/Environmental Designer |

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