After Growth: A Symposium on Post-Capitalist Imaginaries, Day 1

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After Growth is a symposium, a gathering of bodies and minds, but it is also an invitation to construct another future. At its core is the belief that prosperity does not depend on economic growth, and that – in the face of ongoing climate catastrophe – there is an urgent need to find new ways of living within planetary boundaries.

The concept of ‘degrowth’ emerges from the confluence of activism, ecology and economics, though it also sits within a larger cultural field of creative and artistic practice. Rather than producing blueprints of utopian visions, many of the contributors to this symposium work towards the creation of spaces where post-capitalist forms of life can be incubated.

This is a recording of Day 1 of the symposium, hosted online on Saturday 19 March 2022.

00:00 Opening Remarks by Canan Batur (Curator of Live Programmes) and Theo Reeves-Evison (co-organiser)

10:55 Degrowth and Climate Justice with Giorgos Kallis and Tonny Nowshin, followed by a Q&A

1:10:05 Beyond Ecological Pasts and Radical Futurisms with Fernando Garcia Dory and Pinar Yoldas, followed by a Q&A

2:08:54 Civic Practices and Architectural Eco-Fiction with Thandi Loewenson, Frances Whitehead, followed by a Q&A

Canan Batur is Curator of Live Programmes at Nottingham Contemporary.

Theo Reeves-Evison is a Leverhulme Fellow at Birmingham School of Art, where his research focuses on the critical imbrications of art, ecology and speculation. Prior to taking up a Leverhulme fellowship he worked as a Senior Lecturer in Theoretical and Contextual Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College and an MA in Critical Theory from the University of Nottingham. He is the editor, together with Jon K. Shaw, of Fiction as Method (Sternberg, 2017), and has published in magazines and journals such as Frieze, New Formations and Critical Inquiry. In 2018 he edited a special issue of the journal Third Text on the theme of ‘ethico-aesthetic repairs’ with Mark Rainey, and his second monograph, which focuses on the tools that have shaped how environmental futures are constructed as objects of experience, is currently under review with Duke University Press.

Giorgos Kallis is an ecological economist and political ecologist working on environmental justice and limits to growth. He has a Bachelors degree in chemistry and a Masters in environmental engineering from Imperial College, a PhD in environmental policy from the University of the Aegean, and a second Masters in economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. He is an ICREA professor since 2010. Before coming to Barcelona, Giorgos was a Marie Curie International Fellow at the Energy and Resources group at the University of California-Berkeley.

Tonny Nowshin is an economist, climate justice and degrowth activist. Tonny grew up in Bangladesh. Along with social movements in Bangladesh, she mobilised to save the world’s largest Mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. She is an international development professional and has worked for German and international climate NGOs. Professionally at the moment, her work focuses on fossil fuel finance. In her activist work, she focuses on centering the concept of climate justice at the core of the climate movement by putting forward antiracist and decolonial perspectives and networks.

Fernando García-Dory’s work engages the relationship between culture and nature, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations in relation to identity, crisis, utopia and social change. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages drawing to collaborative agro-ecological projects and actions. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology, and is preparing his PhD on Art and Agroecology. He was granted the Socially Engaged Award by Creative Time New York, the Chamberlain Award and finalist of the Rolex Prize, He is fellow of Council of Forms ( Paris) and board member of the World Alliance of Nomadic Pastoralists. He has developed projects and shown his work at Tensta Konsthalle, Van Abbe Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, SFMOMA, Pompidou Museum, Documenta 12 and Biennales of Gwangju, Istanbul and Athens. Since 2010 he has been developing a project about a para-institution called INLAND, in which to dissolve his authorship. For 2022, he is preparing exhibitions at BALTIC Newcastle, Serpentine Galleries London, Madre Napoli , Biennales of Istanbul, Kosovo and Urals, and for Documenta 15. He is also coordinator of the European network on Rural Arts called Confederacy of Villages, supported by Creative Europe program and Carasso Foundation.

Pinar Yoldas is an intradisciplinary designer/artist/researcher currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her work develops within biological sciences and digital technologies through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video and drawing with a focus on post-humanism, eco-nihilism, anthropocene and feminist technoscience. She holds a Ph.D. from Duke University where she was affiliated with Duke Institute of Brain Sciences and Media Arts and Sciences. She holds a Bachelors of Architecture from Middle East Technical University, a Master of Arts from Bilgi University, a Master of Science from Istanbul Technical University and a Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Los Angeles where she worked at the Art|Sci Center and the UCLA Game lab. Her book An Ecosystem of Excess was published by ArgoBooks in 2014. Pinar is a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in the Fine Arts and a 2016 FEAT Future Emerging Arts and Technologies Award recipient. She holds a bronze medal in organic chemistry in the national science Olympics and had her first solo painting exhibition when she was five.

Thandi Loewenson (b.1989, Harare) is an architectural designer/ researcher who operates through design, fiction and performance to interrogate our perceived and lived realms and to speculate on the possible worlds in our midst. Mobilising the ‘weird’ and the ‘tender’, she engages in projects which provoke questioning of the status-quo, whilst working with communities, policy makers, artists and architects towards acting on those provocations. Thandi is a tutor at the Royal College of Art, London, a Visiting Professor at the Aarhus School of Architecture and a co-foundress of the architectural collective BREAK//LINE.

Frances Whitehead is a civic practice artist bringing the methods, mindsets, and strategies of contemporary art practice to the process of shaping the future city. Connecting emerging art practices and the discourses of climate change, post-humanism, counter-extinction, and culturally informed sustainability, she develops strategies to deploy the knowledge of artists as change agents, asking, What do Artists Know? Questions of participation, sustainability, and culture change animate her work as she considers the surrounding community, the landscape, and the interdependency of multiple ecologies. Whitehead’s cutting-edge work integrates art and sustainability, as she traverses disciplines to engage citizens, municipalities, and other communities of practice, in order to hybridise art, design, science, conservation, and civic engagement, for public and planet. Whitehead has worked professionally as an artist since the mid 1980’s and has worked collaboratively as ARTetal Studio since 2001. She is Professor of Sculpture + Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she founded the SAIC Knowledge Lab. She explores Experimental Geography and other trans-disciplinary topics that engage the aesthetic, technological and geo-political dimensions of artmaking as a component of spatial practice. A long term resident of the Great Lakes region, she has recently relocated to the high desert of New Mexico to focus on xeric landscapes for the future.

Click here to view a transcript of Degrowth and Climate Justice

Click here to view a transcript of Beyond Ecological Pasts and Radical Futurisms

Click here to view a transcript of Civic Practices and Architectural Eco-Fiction

Your support is vital

A small one-off or regular donation helps us present free exhibitions, events and education programmes across the city, up and down the UK, and around the world.