Glückliche Orte / Happy Places (2006—2014)
2014, Series of 10, archival pigment print,
23 x 23 cm, framed; text on wall
Photo: Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, 2012
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Glückliche Orte / Happy Places (2006—2014)
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Glückliche Orte / Happy Places (2006—2014)
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Laut Happy Planet Index (HPI, 2006) der britischen New Economics Foundation leben im südpazifischen Inselstaat Vanuatu die glücklichsten Menschen der Welt. Für die Studie wurden insgesamt 178 Nationen untersucht. Deutschland landete auf dem 81. Platz, die USA auf Rang 150.

Um herauszufinden, was genau die Menschen auf diesen 83 Inseln so glücklich macht, annoncierte ich im Mai 2008 in der englischsprachigen Vanuatu Daily Post: „Dear inhabitants of Vanuatu, would you please describe your daily life to me?“

Ich erhielt fünf Antworten. Lapidare, einzeilige E-Mails. Vier Leute fragten mich lediglich, was genau ich denn wissen möchte. Und einer, Willie Sacksack, zweiter Direktor einer vanuatuischen Behörde zur Förderung ausländischer Investitionen, schrieb gar: „Hi Sven, actually my life seems pretty normal to me. Best, Willie.“

Dann – Anfang 2009 – erhielt ich überraschenderweise nochmals Post von Willie, diesmal jedoch schrieb er ausführlicher: „Hi Sven, you know what? – 80 percent of our population can manage their life without money. Most people do not have money all year round. They still live their lives as successfully as anyone. Money is not everything in life. Land is our life. Land is mother to us. Land provides us with life. Happy to help, Willie.“

Ab diesem Zeitpunkt habe ich – immer ein wenig sehnsüchtig – in regelmäßigen Abständen „Vanuatu“ gegoogelt. Und dann das: Am 4. Mai 2014 der achte Treffer, bei Private Islands Online stehen zehn der 83 Inseln endlich zum Verkauf.



According to the Happy Planet Index (HPI, 2006), compiled by the British New Economics Foundation, the happiest people in the world live in the South Pacific island state of Vanuatu. A total of 178 nations were surveyed; Germany came in at place 81, while the USA came in at 150.

In order to find out what, exactly, makes the people on these 83 islands so happy, in May 2008 I placed an ad in the English-language Vanuatu Daily Post: “Dear inhabitants of Vanuatu, would you please describe your daily life to me?”

I have received five e-mails until now. Succinct, one-line emails. Four people only asked what exactly I wanted to know. And one person, Willie Sacksack, assistent director of a Vanuaten agency for the promotion of foreign investment, just wrote, “Hi Sven, actually my life seems pretty normal to me.”

Then, in early 2009, I unexpectedly received a further email from Willie. But this time he wrote more extensively, “Hi Sven, you know what? — 80 percent of our population can manage without money. Most people do not have money all year round. They still live their lives as successfully as anyone else. Money is not everything in life. Land is our life. Land is mother to us. Land provides us with life. Happy to help, Willie.”

Since then, always a little wistfully, I have googled “Vanuatu” at regular intervals. And then, on May 4th, 2014, the eighth result from the top: in Private Islands Online, ten of the 83 islands are finally listed for sale.