This month I’ve been thinking about future scenarios of climate change through starting to explore visions of alternative economies. Over the past five years there has been a plethora of ideas for where the economies of the world could go next, away from neoliberalism, and whilst climate change is not the overt subject matter of these works, it haunts every one of them. Whether referenced in passing or providing stimulus, fears of what climate change will bring shadows these works as a ghost from the future, an augury of what we might have to face if we do not rethink the whole structure of how we engage with one another.
These are some of the economic systems I’m thinking about – all plausible, intriguing & above all hopeful:
- Circular or closed loop economies
- Postwork economies
- Economics of ‘enough’
- Zero-growth economy
- (New) manufacturing economies – and an emphasis on the value of making
Back in the present, the background hum of the past months has been the continuous breaking climate records: with each month being the hottest ever recorded.
And then further back into the past – I’ve also been returning to the basics, to remind myself what it is actually about: the visualisations are alarming, affecting, compelling:
Something I’ve been developing for a while is a practice of research-in-public. When making 3rd Ring Out , we met an array of extraordinary experts: scientists and geographers, town-planners and emergency planners. The theatrical show that emerged – an emergency-planning-style ‘rehearsal’ for a climate-changed future – was an amalgamation/transformation of everything we had encountered through those discussions. The show was never designed to mediate all of the fascinating material we had encountered – and yet it seemed a shame that the sharing of research had only been with the handful of other artists on the project. So with World Factory we held ‘café conversations’ – these were where we invited the experts we wanted to engage with to talk with us in public. Not only did this mean far more people were involved in those discussions over the course of the research, but it also enabled a widening of the range of consultation and the broadening of useful questions. This mode of operating seems ideal for the networked residency, so I am now planning that my discussions with experts about economic systems – and how they could be altered – will take place in public in a variety of forms. I hope some of you will be able to join me.