Season Butler: Happiness Forgets
‘Remember the good old days when everyone got along, when life was simple, when our television screens protected us from sex, violence and the discomfort of difference? Remember when politicians were statesmen, mothers were wholesome, the rich worked hard and celebrities were role models? Remember when we knew where we belonged, when no one was gay, no one was black and political correctness was barely a glint in some liberal’s eye? Me neither.
Happiness Forgets is a lecture, an ode and an elegy for our imperfect past, for the people we once were and can never be again, now that we know what we know now. In this piece, Season Butler pins down the past, examines it under a microscope, charges it with electricity to see if she can make it dance. Throwing tradition onto the junk heap of history, Happiness Forgets will try to nudge us into the gaps between rich and poor, comedy and tragedy, celebrities and fans, credibility and doubt, grab the power that these differences generate and grind it into dust. It’s about race, nostalgia and the moment when you see something familiar in a whole new light.’
Fierce Says: Like many people growing up in the 80s and 90s in the UK I watches The Cosby Show every Sunday. At that time televised portrayals of professional middle-class black families were so rare, that the conservative normativity of the Cosby Show was generally overlooked. The allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, make this new commission a timely exploration of how the content of a work and the context of its production are political and inseparable.