Welfare State Vs Guggenheim
On this day, 5 years ago, we organized a protest at the ceremony of the winners for the Guggenheim "Museum" architectural competition for Helsinki. Our welfare state showed just enough resilience over the corporate power.
I was invited there as an architec and I wore there a shirt stating the salary of the CEO of the Guggenheim and in the back, the salary for a construction worker of the Abu Dhabi franchise. A polemic site for its poor safety records.
The director of the Guggenheim Bilbao is here seen in the photo amused, beside me on the left, but the sympathy faded out after I stated to him our intentions: the Finnish Social Welfare state cannot be sponsoring with public tax money, one private gallery, such as Guggenheim, over others.
Despite all odds, we won, they left. It would have been great that Guggenheim had settled in, but at its own costs, not on public money.
On that occasion during other protests for the same cause, I met Michael Sorkin, who came to Helsinki in support of this struggle. Sadly he just died a month ago, victim of the covid-19 pandemic in New York City. His writtings and speeches were inspiring for me back in 2015 and will surely leave marks in generations of architects and sociologists.
No matter how powerless, one's convictions should be our greatest drive. The pursuit for individuality and integrity of our own believes is a lonely path, too often discredited, inglorious and painful. But no path is worth taking if it is smooth and cleared of stones, and such paths should not be taken tomorrow, but today! :-)