Happybirthdayto.[name] (online/ pop-up realife/ platform/ institute - 2020)
Happybirthdayto.[name] is an online and (pop-up) 'real life' platform, that hosts and archives an artistic research project on the charged moment of social conventions, expectations, and emotions that lie beneath the birthday's decorated layer of sweet cakes and brightly coloured plastic trash.
I am 26 and I still don’t sleep well the night before my birthday. It is a yearly returning moment where my thoughts and feelings are quite a mixed bag.
These experiences are the starting point for this project. Since a year, I design and conduct ‘birthday sessions’ in which people can open up about their birthday experiences.
I find it very fascinating to discuss the charged moment of social conventions, expectations, emotions and reflections that lie beneath a decorated layer of sweet cakes and brightly coloured plastic trash, with all people that can somehow relate to the concept ‘birthday’.
And so the happybirthdayto.[name] platform was born. An online and pop-up 'real life' space, somehow situated between a research institute and a birthday party, to which anyone with a date of birth is invited. In this open archive people with different points of view can respond to the question ‘What does the birthday mean and how to deal with it?’. I am carefully gluing this daily life wisdom together, starting a collaborative ‘Philosophy of Birthdays’.
As the founding mother of happybirthdayto.[name],
(I am wishing you a) Happy Birthday,
Photo by Ronald Smits