It was October 2019, the first time we visited Mullsjö, a small town not far from Jönköping surrounding a lake .. actually, this was not the very first time considering we drown trough in July the same year .. but this doesn’t count.
During this first stay, we proposed to create a project for the Mullsjöbo aiming at creating a service for the citizens focused on curbing the impact on emotional deficiencies and loneliness with implementation of different measures of well-being, happiness and satisfaction.
In this first visit of one week we had several meetings with the municipality staff to understand the organization chart. The organization chart allowed us to obtain a uniform and synthetic idea of the formal structure of all the authority elements, the levels of hierarchy and the entire relationship between the different departments. The specialization in each area of the municipality in each of its departments made us bet on the development of the idea of generating a project to prevent problems related to the Socialjanst department in the municipality.
At first we were not very sure on how to face the problem of dealing with our project in the most efficient way for the population of Mullsjö, as well as which would be the best way, and if this could be included within the dynamics that are within the cultural and artistic sector. We thought we could propose the project as a consultancy, an extension or community service that could be valid within an artistic practice involved in the social. Because of this, we initially planned the idea of a cultural institution that would develop through a school of happiness, which led us to think that it could be better to consider it as an institute of happiness. Then, on the other side, we delve into the existing problem in Sweden in reference to regional and local museums, many of which today have problems of economic sustainability, not having a large number of visitors. These museums maintain an interactivity with visitors based on their collections, many of them with great material from within the colonial context, which have ceased to have an interest within today's society. At this point, we raised the possibility of creating our project by seeking an answer to this regional or municipal museum problem in Sweden, thinking that in order to create a new museum, the important thing was how to involve its visitors, without the need of a physical space, …. and at the same time create a museum collection that will be generated directly for and by the direct participation with visitors.
However, now the challenge was different, how to create an online museum for free, which shares its services for a participatory community, through an interaction with the museum's collection through a digital media platform? And could this work out and help the entire national population, from the town of Mullsjö. A proposal that sought to work through the human value of local people, social actors who could assume the role of exponential power, their knowledge in the content and methodology in the development of happiness for the rest of the nation. We wanted to promote all actions that made it possible to strengthen and disseminate local history and memory that could help build content for the collection of the museum of happiness. The result would be a new national community museum model built from the local level.
As part of our research we propose that, in order to disseminate the appropriate resources for the population, it was necessary previously to ask the citizens themselves about how they perceive their relationship to the place and about the happiness. We decided to be carried out a survey to be filled by as many citizens as possible, in anonymous way, with the intention that they could freely express their statements regarding their feelings. The survey was divided into multiple choice questions, where the perception of the degree of happiness could be marked and assessed. These answers would give us an overview over different opinions and ideas that would facilitate a greater understanding of what citizens thought could help to contribute to a most adequate content to adopt in a common or personal well-being.
We thought that the entire study in reference to the project could contribute to visualizing from the local a variety of measures that could be implemented in the future at a national level, and later cross borders and stabilize at an international level.
Integrating the diversity of the local community itself was the key to the next step in the project. We argued that it was important to be able to locate the various leaders that make up the social structure in Mullsjö, refering to people who already have a respectable voice in one or another sector of the community (within religion, sports, entertainment, education, etc).
The first stage brought us to try to locate the spokespersons for the community and make him/her join the project. The idea was to be able to convene through local collaborators, their own communities, and bring all of them together through the museum… through building a free and online mediation platform.
We came to propose that the best way to start the collaboration would have to be integrating our idea in three events taking place publicly on our next visit to Mullsjö.
March 2020, corona has reached Sweden as the whole Europe... and all our plans are no longer possible... travel restrictions... and of course social distancing.
From here on, we have never again returned to Mullsjö and our project was destinated to become more virtual than ever.
Our contacts in Mullsjö began to fade, the virus started affecting the community and this meant that our collaborators could not maintain inter-relationships with their own communities, and in concussion became impossible to even think in generating some of the events that we had raised before the arrival of Covid-19 in Sweden.
Frustration seized us, on the one hand, our project was not even formalized in its first stage, the survey that we had left behind to our collaborators did not even have positive responses massively.
And so, we moved towards more personal proposal, without local collaborators, without actually being able to reach any conclusion that came directly from the population of Mullsjö.
All these circumstances were putting us in the direction of seeing the importance of our project, now more than ever, but at the same time without the possibility of doing anything on site.
Yet, something needs to be done… a small contribution, in which we could with the minimum resources give something back, even if this represents only a minimal image of what this could have become.
And here we are with the three videos trying to show the path we were proposing. These videos show the possibility of benefits related to health, responsible consumption and social well-being, through physical and mental well-being. The videos show everything from how to make homemade bread with ingredients for a healthy diet, to how to exercise through dance, or how you to avoid stress yourself through relaxation. The videos are subtitled in Swedish, they are made by us, and there is no claim whatsoever with them, it is only a sample of what it would have been possible to do with some collaborators from Mullsjö for the benefit of the inhabitants, and the diversity of communities that comprise it.