The film starts from above. We see a white canvas and not much more. That is, until Bjarke Ingels enters from the upper left hand corner dressed in all black. He tilts his head backward, addressing the camera perched above him, and speaks: “If documentary is to document our world as it already is, fiction is to fantasize about how it could be.” The starchitect adds “architecture is the canvas of our lives.” He then gets down on his hands and knees and starts drawing on the canvas below him. Okay, let’s back up.
This artsy video was produced for The Future of Storytelling, an event series that asks “top thinkers” from diverse fields to talk about their work. The program’s long-list of advisors includes Charles Renfro from Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Paola Antonelli, MoMA‘s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design and its Director of R & D; designer Todd Oldham; and Tom Wujec of Autodesk.
The Ingels video, which is produced with Melcher Media (no relation to the author), has the starchitect traveling around the white canvas sketching out the idiosyncratic projects that have skyrocketed his firm’s standing within the profession. As he explains his own work, he diagnoses what he sees as the main problem plaguing architecture today: “So many of our choices today tend to settle with reaffirming the status quo by replicating what’s already there rather than inventing what could happen next.” Ingels draws a series of boxes to signify that type of bland architectural repetitiveness.
After he draws an “X” through those boxes and fills the canvas with drawings of BIG’s work, Ingels plots a path forward. He says that architects must embody the spirit of gamers who play Minecraft and “build their own worlds and inhabit them through play.” Architecture, he says, must then become “Worldcraft”—“where our knowledge and technology don’t limit us, but rather enable us to turn surreal dreams into inhabitable space. To turn fiction into fact.” And with that, Ingels departs the frame.