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Critiques of Growth / Criticas al Crecimiento

Sofia Greaves. Critiques of Growth. Oilpainting on canvas, 50 x 60cm. 

Illustrations for Critiques of Growth / Criticas del Crecimiento, with the University of Vigo press.

I believe in communicating via art and these illustrations are meant to complement the papers in our book. This book synthesises the main criticisms levelled against the growth paradigm. It is the first collaborative publication from the PROSPERA project from a team of researchers striving to address the important dilemmas that face Science, Technology and Innovation within the context of a post-growth world. Innovating without growth means using interdisciplinary thinking to reimagine a new future: a future sensitive to the needs of the different stakeholders who will inhabit it, and able to address the economic, ecological, sociopolitical, and gender-based inequalities that affect us all.

Key themes: postgrowth, degrowth, science and technology studies

Notes on the Illustrations

1. "Don't worry we made a better one" : spatial critiques of growth (Sofia Greaves)

2. "Political ecology" (Alejandro Fortuny Sicart and Noortje Keurhorst) 

Fish paid to leave their pond drown because humans assumed a bath full of money was a fair swap.

PE shows how powerful players gain access to environmental resources to make $$$ by oppressing others and shutting down opposition. How land grabbing, water pollution, soil degradation, enclosure of resources for "conservation" or "development" occurs & its effects (For example).


3. Post structuralist (Elisa Schramm)

The objective of economic growth is normalised by how we speak about it and perform it (for example). We must open up other possibilities via 'the performance of difference', by realising 'projects of the otherwise' to valorise open endedness, non determination and experimentation. 'Otra vida es posible".

4. Ecomarxist Critique (Ben Robra and Jacopo Nicola Bergamo) 

Capitalism is the root cause of ecological degradation, see blog.

Prometheus stole fire from Olympus and gave it to mankind, bestowing humanity with  new knowledge and the possibility of material advancement as well as destruction. He defied Zeus, king of the gods, who had forbidden this gift. Zeus sought to break even by sending a different offering: Pandora, the first mortal woman, holding a box full of evils, lies and diseases. When Pandora opened her box she released these troubles into the world, and was only able to close it in time to shut ‘Hope’ inside. This exploding tree points out that the root cause of ecological degradation is Capitalism. There is one leaf left on the tree, like Hope in Pandora's box. It is a red hand, which is the symbol of Communism.

5. Postdevelopment (Javier Lloveras)

"The noun development has become synonymous with high rates of economic growth, industrialisation, modernisation and consumerism."

In the Egyptian funerary cult, the deceased is judged to determine whether they are ‘good’ enough to gain immortal life. In the Hall of Maat, the heart is weighed against a feather. The heart is the seat of a person's emotions, intellect, will and morality. Maat's feather represents goodness - truth, justice, harmony, balance, order, propriety, and reciprocity. A good life will balance with the feather, but if the heart should weigh more it will be eaten by a demon making never-ending life impossible. In this bastardisation of ancient history I am subverting the classic story of development which holds that ‘economic growth’ and ‘development’ are equal to goodness and represent a path to never-ending life. Rather, post-developmental theory reveals the opposite: by pursuing these ideals society is marching to its doom.

6. Feminist Economics (Jo Becker).

Mushrooms are the fruits of rich and hidden mycelium networks found in the soil, through which they absorb nutrients. Mycelium supports the mushroom and is vital to wider plants’ health and growth

7. Ecological Economics (Brais Suárez-Eiroa)

Kandinsky produced abstract paintings which represented the complexity of an invisible world after the split of the atom. He believed that abstraction could represent truth and spirituality. Kandinsky’s paintings seem more representative of the thermodynamic processes, flows and rebound effects which characterise our economic system than the neat circles which are typically used.

8. Snail cosmology

I spent a week with a snail and painted it from life. This is a snail cosmology, with three fates (from Greek mythology) who rule over the planet. Explanation found in this short blog.

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