Bik Van der Pol
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Laughing Gas
Happiness, and its social, national and
cultural conditioning is the subject of this
project, resulting in an edition of T shirts
and a manifestation in the streets of Graz. The
T shirts carry the printouts of the percentage
level of happiness typical for various
countries in the world, based upon the outcomes
of he World Survey study of the global density
of happiness as depending upon the national
character, psychological qualities and social
structures that help to generate personal
success, well-being and satisfaction thus
positively influence the sense of happiness.
The survey shows that the Nigerians - who also
constitute one of the biggest immigrant
populations in Graz - are the happiest nation
on this planet.

Relocating or mentally and geographically
dislocating the sites, and gently shifting
meanings of seemingly untouchable truths, Bik
Van der Pol investigate and challenge the
solidity of perception's frames, conservatism
of mental structures and superficial
representations as well as the origins of
Laughing Gas
stereotypes and their harmful damaging job of
(ideological) misreading and simplification.
Society and its cultural formation within a
given urban landscape and the context of a
social network features as the main protagonist
of their mainly site-specific constructively
critical interventions and ?corrections? to
the ?official? renderings of history and
socio-political status quo.

With Laughing Gas, prepared especially for
the exhibition Volksgarten, they pursue their
analysis of a cultural difference, in
particular with a focus on humour as a binding
factor. Humour and its long-life partner,
laughter are considered here as significant
cultural components that generate a sense of
communal spirit and self-empowerment, unity and
belonging. With a vehicle distributing laughing
gas (of nitrous oxide chemical formula), Bik
Van der Pol ?spray in? to the Grazer
atmosphere a semi-addictive ambient of positive
energy and collective experience, producing a
helpless but mildly humorous spectacle as a
starting point for a temporary community of the
most spontaneous belonging.