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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.

Cre­at­ing togeth­er
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.

Vol­un­tary involve­ment
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?

Strong exper­i­men­ta­tion
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.