Remixing Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ in Sri Lanka


Intrigued by the production of several geo-remixed (a term borrowed from Ethan Zuckerman) videos in Sri Lanka of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ song, I penned an article for Groundviews.

I submit,

Happiness is clearly present and growing apace within specific social, political, economic stratum and geographic loci. At the risk of caricature, those uncritical of governance, comfortable with growing inequity, ignorant or very dismissive of our democratic deficit, discovering vast profits in new markets, impatient with looking at the past and accepting of government as it is, not as how it should be, are the happiest in Sri Lanka today. Clearly, happiness in post-war Sri Lanka is unequally shared, and no greater insight into this can be found than looking at the silences, gaps and absences in these ‘Happy’ videos.

and go on to say,

It is one thing for civil society to campaign against web censorship and the intrusion of a security mindset into civil affairs. It is another for young producers, actors and citizens, in the pursuit of happiness, to encounter first hand a war mentality that endures, and indeed, grows far beyond barracks. The first usually only appeals to the converted. The second is a segment of the population which will have a very different response to wider, deeper censorship, which is why geo-remixing needs to get more political, widespread and sustained.

Read my article in full here.

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