Fame and Vanity; two shallow words that unexpectedly come along with deep insecurities and feelings of anxiety, frustration, envy and self-doubt. How often do we consider stardom a phenomenon distanced from our daily life, but in honesty, our design industry is full of (the ambition for) it. In last year's publication Rumours we were treated with a filmic scene of Sou Fujimoto's entrance to our humble BK City - crowds went wild. And in response to our Instagram (@Bnieuws) poll 'Do you want to become famous?' 42% answered YES. We might have to trivialize the robustness of this outcome since evidently people who want to be famous are more eager to respond than the ones who do not. Nonetheless, the ambition for stardom is there! And, according to our dean Dick van Gameren, whose interview you can read on page 6, it was no different in the 80s.
Why this hunger for fame? And where does vanity come into play? Does it fuel fame? Or does it sequence it? There are many questions to be answered. According to Tuomas Peippo (p. 20), psychoanalysis doesn't provide you any answers, and neither do designers themselves. Apparently we are either blind to flaws inherent to the architectural discipline or we choose not to face them and talk our way out of them with sales patter. Fact is that somehow we, and our patter, have been able to lift the profession of designers to a level of 'stardom', and though we might pretend not to care, we ourselves are responsible for this phenomenon: we care!
This tendency to showcase our pride, perhaps even our superiority, either as a community such as the design industry or as an individual, is human. It is common to sketch an ideal image of ourselves when we talk to strangers, tell narratives about how we wish it would have been, instead of how we actually are. We all want to exude the best version of ourselves, be acknowledged, seen and heard. Whereas in the past we had fewer opportunities to rise to stardom, nowadays we are given a voice which transcends physical space and time synthesis. Social media provide us tools to construct our desired identities, our image to the outside world. It might even be in the name: BIG TIME, a documentary - reviewed by Aimee Baars on page 22 - on Bjarke Ingels who is founder of internationally renowned firm BIG, gives us an insight in the life of a 'starchitect'. It leaves you feeling conflicted; are the head aches, the jet lags, the haste worth it? For some people it is, and for some people it isn't - and that is ok. There is certainly no harm in telling yourself, mirror included, you are worthy every now and then. Come on, say it now: "I am worth it!" Well done you. And perhaps, in the far future Artificial Intelligence - as Nathan Kramer suggests in his article on page 28 - has taken control and we won't even have to worry about superiority, because it is all taken care for.