Works on Paper Projects Exhibitions Words About Archive

The Accident

Time Outside Without Extension

One for the Other

Dream Day

We Belong to this Band - Phase 1

We Belong to this Band - Phase 2

We Belong to this Band - Phase 3

Four Chapters in the Present We Were


Love Stories, Part 3
(co-pilots and trajectories)

All in Good Company, All in Good Time

Visions of a Quasi-Expatriate

Love Stories, Part 2
(adjustable couplings)

Dis- Ease

Operation Pandemic Joy

The Dilemma Game

Handle Like Eggs

Merry Folly (all fall down)

Problem Plays

Harlot's Progress


Love Stories, Part 1

O Joy!

Banner plane flying by the Washington University flag.

A banner plane flew over Washington University towing a banner that read “Operation Pandemic Joy” and signaling the commencement of campaign activities.

Printed parachutes launched from building tops

Parachutes were launched from the tops of three university buildings and descended to the ground where attendees of the celebration waited to catch them.

Parachutes ready for printing

300 toy parachutes were laid out for screen printing in the Washington University student print shop.

Each parachute was screenprinted with the message, “O Joy!,” an image of a joyful person, and the Sesquicentennial logo.

Leaflet crew

Following the descent of the parachutes, uniformed assistants began walking through campus handing out leaflets.

Front and back covers of folded leaflet

The folded leaflets/broadsides were comprised of an image of a joyful person on the front, a slogan on the back, and on the inside, an invitation and instructions on where to go to participate in the printing of Operation Pandemic Joy car magnets.
Four different images were used for the front cover of the leaflet, and were mixed randomly with four different slogans on the back. The slogans are derived from the campaign of “Four Freedoms” commissioned to Norman Rockwell during the Second World War.

Operation Pandemic Joy used the following slogans:
Freedom From Want, Freedom From Doubt, Freedom From Fear, Freedom From Woe. O Joy!

Some examples of the magnets that were printed

Operation Pandemic Joy had a booth in front of Bixby Hall where participants could “Stamp ‘em out!” and “Make an impression!” by printing magnets for use on cars or other metallic surfaces. Using small Gocco screens for printing and magnetic vinyl, assistants at the booth helped participants design and print their own magnet.

Operation Pandemic Joy was a temporary public art event that took place during the Community Open House on September 14, 2003 in celebration of the Washington University Sesquicentennial.

Operation Pandemic Joy was conceived of as a full-scale, multi-media propaganda campaign that promoted joy. The methods and aesthetics of government war posters and billboards as well as World War II public service announcements and propagandistic material were important sources for the development of this project. Much of that source material focused on participation and citizenship investment in the national effort.

"Glittering generalities" is the propaganda technique used by Operation Pandemic Joy. Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. They appeal to such emotions as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc.

In perhaps ironic contrast to propaganda campaigns born out of wartime necessities, Operation Pandemic Joy did not call for a nationalistic or political response. The campaign objective was a universal, timeless one and aimed in a directly humanistic sense to advocate joy. The philosophy was simple (perhaps even simplistic): a smile begets a smile (and we could all use a little more joy.)

Operation Pandemic Joy used a banner plane, printed parachutes, leaflets, and car magnets to distribute its message of universal joy.