Our intervention fundamentals
Responsive approach — Listen first
Every project begins with immersion. What stories are there? What are our first impressions? What do we think we should highlight? What do we want to change or shake up? Our projects are “tailor-made” creations — the fruit of the existing situation coming together with the intentions we bring to it.
From partners and volunteers to occupants and local residents, each project is a composition created through the interchange of all of those involved. The act of creating together begins straight from the design stage to the roll-out and onto management. It lives as much through the collective sense of achievement as it does in challenging situations, where the experience of looking at problems head-on together can bring about greater levels of mutual respect and trust.
Hospitality is the pleasure of welcoming others and caring for them; it is the desire for each and every one to feel legitimate. Hospitality is small actions (offering water, seating, shelter) as well as spatial transformations (light, transformable, expandable architecture). Hospitality is for those who have little, and for those who have been rejected for their differences.
Creativity is the desire to do things differently, the energy to want to invent, the ability to question oneself. For artists, their creativity lies in their relationship to the world and our projects leave them the space to explore every possibility. For it is crucial that everyone’s creativity is stimulated, welcomed and allowed to be seen and heard.
Presumption of trust
This beautiful phrase, formulated by Edith Hallauer, represents our approach to creating the peaceful conditions necessary for discovery, attendance and involvement. Contrary to the sentiment of mistrust characteristic of our times, it acts to counteract the feelings of powerlessness tied to the fear of being judged. Creating this presumption of trust is a subtle step between invitation and surprise. It involves not only a warm and open reception, but also signage, spatial layouts, mediation, security and an on-site presence.
Setting the pace
We put a lot of effort into the pacing of our interventions, focusing on the project as a whole but also in parts, alternating periods of intensity with intervals of calm. This temporal articulation enables us to build up tension and energy as well as set a rhythm of “progressive accomplishments”. In this way, projects can be rolled-out in stages, with each stage being the occasion for a sense of achievement and a moment of constructive reflection.
Power of cohabitation
For all of our projects, we try to bring together worlds that often don’t co-mingle: varied professions, different social backgrounds, diverse cultures and multiple generations. This cohabitation of people is achieved through the cohabitation of functions — arts, trades, social services, culture, sports, nature, parties, etc. — and by programming, in turns, specific activities or events targeting the various specific audiences.
We don’t want to be merely workers, managers or consultants on our projects; we also want to be “inhabitants” — to experience them fully with our bodies and our emotions. Therefore, at the sites where we work, be it to conduct a study or to lead a creative workshop, we take on the bet of living on-site — anywhere from 24 hours to several years — and through this experience, we are able to have a deeper, more profound understanding of the day-to-day life of these spaces.
Continuous artistic process
We don’t operate in any particular artistic field; we explore them all. We don’t program everything, either spatially or temporally. Our interest in creation is focused on ways of building together — in fits and starts and in constant negotiation with the idea of otherness. Our cultural and artistic programming values transmission and sharing. It is festive and popular, experimental and cutting-edge, multicultural, often free, always collaborative, welcoming and convivial.
We work in a way in which our various projects can awaken in each and every one a desire to get involved and to take part, whether by offering their time or by proposing ideas or actions. We believe in the collective experience and hope that for our different projects, people naturally feel comfortable to come and say: “I have two hours free, how can I be useful?”.
Collective freedom and editorial direction
The two go hand in hand. While we leave much of the day-to-day open to the possibilities that can emerge and we give a lot of space to the proposals that come to us, we also assume an “editorial direction” for our projects, i.e. the ability to choose, encourage or rectify actions that are already underway. This approach allows us to continue to move forward fairly quickly, while also ensuring the overall consistency of the projects.
A local, mercantile and multifaceted economy
We believe in the social role of grocers, hairdressers, repairmen and artisans. Through our projects, we try to facilitate entrepreneurship and the ability to launch small businesses. When they are started by those often marginalized by the job market, there is a need to accompany them. So when these shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen know their trade, we help them embark on a collective history, revealing how each of their unique contributions fit together to create a shared project.
We think of our projects as reversible, capable of leaving no physical footprint at their conclusion. We create based on existing resources: the available spaces, the skills and good will of neighbours, the materials at our disposition. Beginning with what already exists, we redirect and recompose, reinventing and creating transformations adapted to the context, intentions and temporalities of each project.
Each project is a trip to another world, a fantasy brought to life. Just as travellers from afar are welcome to visit our sites, local residents have the chance to also enjoy being tourists. For what is the point of going far away, when so close to home there are places full of exciting innovation and encounters, where it’s completely natural to discover different cultures and experiences?
Each of our projects are meant to be the occasion to experiment and push for invention. The strength of Yes We Camp lies precisely in this ability to make these efforts possible by giving them a structure. For us, the success of a project is not so much measured by the final result, but rather by what has been attempted. We take risks, we question our choices. We create parameters, but they are not stagnant. They take on a life during the course of the project, and we are always willing to challenge and adapt them.
We are driven by the desire for a fairer, happier, more lively and fulfilling world. Often our projects address or question difficult situations, particularly the social issues that we are passionate about. And while their implementation, in the reality of daily life, do solicit pleasure and satisfaction, our work would be meaningless if we didn’t also achieve a healthy dose of joy, celebration and tenderness.