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On the possibility of collective happiness

Maria Saviste (1-2/2009)

Maria Saviste’s thoughts on Happy Together in Tallinn Art Hall 28.01–01.03.2009
An international group exhibition Happy Together (curated by Mika Hannula & Minna Henriksson) focuses on different (conflict) situations in today’s society that reveal collective consciousness, and thereby studies the ideas of community and collectiveness – with a more general purpose to constructively analyse what would happen if the collective (be it consciousness or identity) gained power over the individual. Problems that emerge in the background of the idea of collectiveness and community range from one extreme to another: from themes of homophobia to environmental pollution, from prostitution to national identity and constructing national history. It seems meaningful that many of the artists taking part in the exhibition have a heightened sensitivity to nationality and communal identity. Is it inevitable that backgrounds for collective and communal identity are only studied by those in whose case that identity is somehow ruptured? It seems that questions about what would happen if the collective gained power over the individual are primarily asked by people to whom collectiveness is in some sense problematic, something that keeps a unifying feeling from taking hold.
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