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How happy a Thing can be

Radar at Loughborough University presents a new two-part work by Belgian American artist Cécile B. Evans, How happy a Thing can be (2014). Incorporating sculpture and video, the work forms part of the Product Pleasure series at Radar, in which artists and academics investigate the sensory or emotional meaning attached to products.

How happy a Thing can be features three everyday, mundane personal items - a comb, a screwdriver, and a pair of scissors. 3D-printed sculptures of the objects are set against the backdrop of a screen depicting moving and alternate locations for the objects. The corresponding video work shows the objects in digital form performing a choreographed arch, implying that they have an emotional life of their own and are being pushed to their very limits.

The three sculptural objects have been chosen for their static nature; they are immune to updates and upgrades, with a design that has gone unchanged for many years. Inspired by personal breakdowns and disasters as seen through the eyes of the media, the path these objects take in their ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ forms explores the transient nature of spirit in both humans and our apparatus, each seemingly burdened with the overwhelming thirst for something more.

Dr Samantha Porter, Senior Lecturer in the Design School at Loughborough University, has worked closely with Cécile B. Evans in the creation of this work, in particular through the use of the design tool Real People, which facilitates designers’ understanding of the ways in which consumers form emotional attachments with the products that they own. Short videos and written narratives from 100 individuals of different ages and genders describe the nature of the emotional attachment that they have to three of their favourite products.

How happy a Thing can be is a co-commission with Wysing Arts Centre.  3D models developed in collaboration with Cay Green, PhD candidate at the School of Design, Loughborough University.

How happy a Thing can be
Cecile B. Evans

Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU
Wednesday 30 April – Friday 2 May & Tuesday 6 - Friday 9 May, 9am-5pm

Exhibition opening, Wednesday 30 April, 5-7pm
Admission is free
More information at

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 14/76

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


Alison Barlow
Senior PR and Community Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228696

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224