Remember my quest for finding happiness at the beginning of the year and as a consequence the Happy Film review? Guess what? My wish came true and the exhibition arrived in Portugal this month.
Safe to say that I wanted to be the first in line for the premiere and was excited to see Sagmeister in person but sadly, I couldn’t.
Nevertheless, I picked a sunny day and went to Maat to see it.
My overall impression: I was disappointed. I mean, I really liked the film and I relate to Sagmeister’s way of seeing his work and his life a lot, so my expectations for the show were immense (aren’t they always?).
Is not that I didn’t like it, I just think that the exhibition wasn’t well adjusted to the space. To me, particularly, it fell short from what I’ve seen in the film.
I had this clear vision of huge yellow walls with awesome infographics on happiness and although the infographics were indeed there, they seemed kind of cramped in the space.
Also, some of the activities like the instructions cards, the donation coin, and the drawing exercise don’t work well in Portugal. People are embarrassed to do silly things in public, they’re too cheap and also they don’t“waste time” into explaining to their kids that they need to draw on paper, not on the tables.
Enough of complaining, let’s get to the good things.
I really liked the fact that Sagmeister uses multimedia and interactivity in an unpredictable way. The visitor isn’t just there see and reading, he really interacts and thinks about his happiness.
The gum machine was also a nice touch from the rest and most seen pieces (like the bicycle with the neon letters, it’s very instagrammable and for that reason, very popular).
Kids were really excited to take a yellow gum for free and they went for the 10. I’m a naturally unsatisfied person so I took a number 6, in case you’re wondering.
My favorite part of the show was actually the little unpredictable things written on small corners of the walls. Those were great little fun details. Thank you for that, Stephan.
If you are in Lisbon, take some time and go to Maat to see it for yourself. Don’t let my opinion misguide you.
Most people enjoyed it very much and I’m sure that if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve seen the film beforehand, I would have enjoyed more too.
Let me know your opinion on the exhibition, the film, and happiness. What number – from 1 to 10 – would you choose right now? 👀
PS: The pitch book is no longer on my wishlist because I bought it at the museum store. But if you’re still curious about the happiness show, you can buy it here.
Also published on Medium.