We live by making one choice after another. Yet how can we know in advance the future outcome of our choices? Will I be happier if I choose this job over that one? Will I be happier if I wake early or sleep late, or entertain this thought rather than that one? If I turn right while I’m out for a walk I may run into a friend; turn left and I may trip on a loose sidewalk brick. The ultimate outcomes of our choices are fundamentally unknowable.
Or are they? What if we could know now the outcome of our choices? The Happy-Tron explores this possibility, by assisting in the evaluation of the outcome of today’s decisions. Dozens of toggle switches, each representing a simple binary choice, may be flipped in either position. A set of indicator lights — Happy, Healthy, Kind, Honest, and Wise — reveals the outcome of a particular combination of these choices. A red light indicates failure to achieve the given outcome; a green light indicates success. When all the lights turn green the participant has achieved true happiness.
There are approximately 18 million billion possible permutations of these choices. At least 16 million of these combinations lead to perfect happiness. The exact number is unknown. In the Happy-Tron the connection between particular choices and their resultant outcome is intentionally obscure, reflecting our fundamental ignorance of the future.
- 2023.05.06 - 2023.05.07 : Somerville Open Studios, 2023