07.  Happy Tourists

Art Performance
Museum Insel + IKEA Südkreuz

It’s not so often that my visual art and freelance photography worlds cross paths but, when it happens, I’m pretty happy...


This was the case for my two-day shoot in January 2023 for Soazic Guezennec, who is the creative brainchild behind Happy Tourists. This project aims to encourage people to get lost - literally, physically. In any other kind of way you can think of, honestly.

How and in what way, you may ask, can an art project in public space get people lost? Let’s take a look at the instructions.

Happy Tourists uses a game format to shake things up. Participants are encouraged to rediscover the urban environment (or, at least to approach it in a different way) using prompts. Cards created by the French artist give a wide range of instructions: ‘Walk on water’, ‘Start a revolution’, ‘Bring back an example of an endemic species’. With sometimes clear and at other times utterly abstract orders to follow, participants of Happy Tourists seek out, in groups, the strange, the funny, and even the downright boring and ordinary within the city’s peripheries. Their challenge, hidden in the subtext? To see and be seen in between the well-trodden paths of the everyday.

There’s a spirit of defiance and adventure at the heart of this project that speaks to me strongly. It says:

“Don’t stop viewing the city as a completely absurd and uncontrollable experiment.”

©Jeremy Knowles 2023
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