While some people believe brevity is the future, Pharrell Williams took it long the other way last fall with his online 24-hour video for Happy, the ubiquitous earworm hit you’ve heard unless you’ve been in solitary confinement. Created by We Are From LA and brilliantly executed online by innovators Iconoclast Interactive, 24hoursofhappy is exactly that–a full day’s worth of dancing and more to a tune that’s surprisingly tolerable even at this level of total immersion. (Go ahead and play your favorite song for 24 straight hours and see if it retains its charm…) The website claims Happy is the first 24-hour music video. It will long stand, whatever its imitators, as the best one.
Art-minded fans may think of Andy Warhol’s Empire, the seminal art house film that featured the famous skyscraper doing its stationary thing for eight hours–as the day changed all around it. Happy also brings to mind the sensation caused more recently by Christian Marclay’s video installation, The Clock, which gave viewers a new perspective on what a difference a day makes. While less diverse than The Clock, Williams’ happy effort shares a perversely exciting monotony with Empire. Shows as different as 24 and Cosmos have been asking us to take greater consideration of our time–how it breaks up and comes together. Happy does this subtly and well. But what makes this show ultimately wonderful is best expressed in the comments section by Jason Brock (@jasonbroccoli): “OMG I’m so happy.” You will be too.