This is a strange entrance with respect to the habitual thing and perhaps for that reason it pleases us especially. It is a text that is not specifically dedicated to architecture, nor to its authors; Nor does it talk about urban strategies, energy management or resources and many other issues that have interested us for years.
This time we wanted to write about a message that lately resonates for too many spheres of everyday life; a simple and hypnotic message addressed to the citizen to say, without distinctions or annotations, a resounding and bright ‘YES’. Let’s see some examples and reflect on this ‘YES’ refreshing and without complexes.
The exhibition and subsequent catalog ‘YES IS MORE’,1 already become icon for the joy of its authors and editors, reviews the dizzying work of the last architect-celebrity and his young business group: Bjarke Ingels Group. It is not intended here to perform an architecture criticism exercise on the profuse work of BIG,2 but to establish a reflection on the process of cultural legitimation of a message that, consciously and synchronized, is sent from different areas to the citizen, a message that can be synthesized in one word: YES, which in its adverbial meaning, expresses
‘Aaffirmation as an answer to a question’.3
After the famous ‘‘YES WE CAN’ by Barak Obama4 new locutions have appeared, always positive, brief and effervescent, which are offered in response to any question, the one that an anonymous citizen wants to make: from the ironic ‘YES TO ALL’ of Sylvie Fleury5 to the hedonistic and self-indulgent ‘YES IS MORE’ by BIG, going through the single ‘YES!’ That the Western Union6 brand will advertise in the form of yellow balloon-letters floating over different cities of the world.
The affirmation, telegrammatic and reiterative, is presented as a complex exercise of seduction, activating a desire or aspiration that can become reality, provided that the individual can pay for it and society as a whole can assume the consequences. It is about turning the citizen into a dissatisfied, hedonistic and capricious client, the necessary substrate for the infinite growth of the global economy.7
Bjarke Ingels has developed a formula, conceptually simple, that has supposed him to reach the status of ‘celebrity’ at great speed, capturing commissions of great calaje throughout the planet. On the one hand his ‘YES IS MORE’ le (auto) presents, in a sort of succession chain, as heir of architects of the stature of Mies van der Rohe, and his ascetic ‘LESS IS MORE’, or Rem Koolhaas, and his redundant ‘MORE IS MORE’.
On the other hand, the successful discourse of casual and youthful air, so typical of the new business model imported from Silicon Valley, captivates different agents of political and financial power, who find a powerful ‘feedback’ in an idea quickly consumable, assimilable and ‘retweeteable’ to the rest of the citizens in the form of new and refreshing expressions, yes, of no more than three words of which, at least one, is YES.
It would not hurt to add to this chorus of sensual voices an * (asterisk) and a good ‘billet’ of small print, an essential formula in the current commercial dynamic. On the one hand, it should be mandatory to know the contraindications and side effects of a sweetened and narcotizing message for citizens: saying ‘yes to everything’ is not just treating us like imbeciles, it also means generating a populist dynamic of self-destruction. the societies in deep decadence.8
On the other hand, compensation should be established by the ‘guru’ towards the citizens, when their maxim is revealed as insufficient, ineffective, unusable or simply false.9
Perhaps this way, the conditions could be given for the appearance of more accurate and reflective messages, of an educational, therapeutic, hygienic, solidary and pedagogical nature, ordered letters with some sense of the evolution of the species, words appeared from the knowledge and the responsibility, from the humble and honest office with oneself and with others: ‘‘YES NEEDS MORE’.
We already know,
It is very difficult,
To say no,
Saying I do not want…10
Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. PhD Architect
Madrid. March 2011.
Author of the Parráfos de arquitectura. #arquiParrafos
2. It´s striking if one compares quantitatively the work of BIG (36 years) with the complete work of, for example, Alejandro de la Sota and Fco. Javier Sáenz de Oíza together.
3. Definition obtained in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.
4. Slogan used by Democratic Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
5. The exhibition on the work of Sylvie Fleury ‘Yes to all’ can be visited at the Contemporary Art Center of Malaga until June 12, 2011.
6. Company dedicated to economic transactions worldwide
7. Deepenning this idea is recommended ‘La vida líquida’ de Zygmunt Bauman.
8. Through movements such as 15M (Spanish Revolution or Democraciarealya), we ask at last, and not only the political power but all powers, including the financial one, to include in their missions and visions something as elementary as respect. for the human being.
9. A good example is Barack Obama and his No we can’t for transcendental issues, such as the shameful delay in closing Guantánamo, the failure of the peace mission in Israel, the lack of commitment to the global goal of reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, their passivity in the repeated summits of the climate, etc.
Doctor en Arquitectura, Decano de la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencia UCJC. Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura, perteneciente al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Director de MADC Arquitectos, estudio profesional con premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, en la actualidad desarrolla proyectos en España y Noruega. Escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).