THE HAPPY DOG
SILVIO DE GRACIA
“The Happy Dog” is a non-politicized version of the urban intervention of VALIE EXPORT’s “Aus der Mappe der Hundigkei” (1968). In this case, the performance is conceived not as a power game in which the sexes are in opposition, but as a loving game between a couple, where both are in agreement. In this sense, the starting point is the same as EXPORT’s, but whereas she invokes political feminism, this version is irreverent, ludic and funny. I am driven like a dog through the public space, secured by a strap, and I follow obediently the footsteps of my partner. This action is part of a series of interferences/performances, according to the “aesthetics of the disturbance,” an innovative concept of performance art that I innovated.
The city is a place with intense social conditioning, producing a kind of numbness of life. Therefore, it is logical that interference aims straight at the inflection of art in the urban sphere. The idea is to install unexpected, strange, undermining micro-elements that attempt to break and dislocate ordinary daily life. In the city—the embodiment of every regulatory discourse—”The Happy Dog” is an interference that tries to shake off the inertia of trivialization of human behavior, not to transform reality but to create crevices, open gaps and to “parasite” reality’s rational and restrictive fabric.
“The Happy Dog” was performed in the context of the Festival de Artes do Corpo FAC, a festival focused on re-performance works, relational art and reuse of cultural products in contemporary art.