Ana Maria Caballero


Newly Abridged Happiness Manual, Vol I is a conceptual poem that explores the tension between time and mind, between what we tell ourselves and what our thoughts tell us.

Our emotional states are underpinned by the unspoken words that traverse our minds as thought. To examine these words is to examine the intimate scaffolding that sustains our outward-facing selves. This poem does so with humor, compassion, and straightforward honesty, highlighting both the mundane and contradictory nature of thought.

Consisting of twenty-four short verses, each of which is displayed independently on a frame for sixty minutes, this piece takes advantage of Async Art’s 24hour canvas to explore the evolution–or lack thereof–of thought along the vast axis of time. Sloganeering statements of self-improvement and assertive grasps for the transcendental interrupt expressions of routine, of place, of physicality. In one breath, we conceive of an ideal tomorrow, in the next we abruptly reach for a peach. How to construct a meaningful sense of self when our senses are constantly under assault?

This artwork functions as a diptych–its collector will receive an airdropped video version in which the same twenty-four frames rotate in under a minute. The slow and fast versions of the poem work together to show how our thoughts cycle and recycle from second to second, hour to hour, moment to moment.

By rethinking the same thoughts, are we essentially reliving a single day?

Debuted at the Digital Francisco Carolinum in April 2022.

Newly Abridged Happiness Manual, Vol I

what comes first the word or the image in the kitchen the scent of thawed meat prefaces the raw sweat of noon where I reside it smolders despite the promise of shade I resolve it’s senseless to worry the pink muscle of mind draws me nowhere closer tomorrow charts an unreal circle why must I choose between language or bread the moral of the story is to want less panoramic thoughts like everything that eats time if habitual inhabit my day though simple and simplistic wrench me with separate strings a wonderful day is conceived produced like chilled fruit the moral of the story is to want more every waking hour