(This is where you smile and time yourself for one minute).
I originally performed this with a generous audience as part of a conversation about happiness at Montalvo Arts Center on February 20, 2013. I was incredibly touched by the audience, who received the work with great care, similar to when I first exhibited these texts. We smiled at each other and realized that a minute felt so long. Our awkward giggles filled the space with beautiful sound.
Smiling does influence emotions positively (science even says so).
I’m reminded of Linda Montano’s 1973 _Happiness Piece, _where she photographed herself smiling every morning for a month. In her book Art in Everyday Life she writes, “I felt somber, sad, and thought that everyone else could smile and I couldn’t. I knew that I could change if I practiced and so I repeated positive acts consistently - I wanted the habit of happiness to be available to me so I disciplined myself to smile everyday.”
I really love the simplicity, self-awareness and sense of possibility with Montano’s Happiness Piece. She never shares if it works, only that she did it for a month in 1973. It’s an invitation to us, really. To try to smile every day, even on the days when we least want to.