Ever had trouble getting a quality smile from a client? Then you might want to think about building a giant replica of a Polaroid camera and plopping it on the sidewalk.
That’s what SoulPancake, The Office actor Rainn Wilson’s media/social networking mashup, did recently as part of an ongoing exploration of joy. The company built a giant Polaroid-ish enclosure for a camera, stuck it on a Los Angeles sidewalk and encouraged passersby to show what “joy” looks like for them. Turns out folks were more than happy to participate, mugging for the camera with expressions that run the gamut of positive emotions.
Some of the happiest poses were converted to still images, printed on giant collages made to look like Polaroid prints and tacked up around the camera.
SoulPancake’s theory is that it’s hard to be grumpy yourself when you see other people experiencing joy, and the results are pretty convincing. Just try to sit through the short video documenting the project without cracking a smile.
Other SoulPancake experiments in infectious happiness include the “Elevator Joy Bomb,” which recorded office workers’ reactions as fellow elevator riders broke into a rendition of James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” and an iPhone app that encourages discussion of photography, philosophy and more.