The Renewable Futures aims to invent new avenues for more sustainable and imaginative future developments. The first conference took place in Riga (LV) exploring transformative potential of art. The second Renewables Futures conference will take place in Eindhoven aiming to push the boundaries of our thinking concerning the economy and will be a part of Economia festival organized by Baltan Laboratories in NatLab, former physics lab of Philips. Economia is a three day event to collectively explore new ideas and thinking about our economy. The event will become a laboratory for ideas, a place where we can step out of the existing frame. We will approach economy in an unexpected, playful and fundamental ways to observe our economic system, our society, with a fresh and sometimes detached view.
Since the eighties economics is a so called ‘hard’ science, which captures people's economic behaviour in mathematical models. Economic science reduced its various approaches to the complexity and unpredictability of our economic behaviour to one comprehensive theory known as the neoclassical or neoliberal model. This had the beauty of simplicity, the predictability of a formula and sounded too logical not to be true.
Like most powerful technologies dating from after the Second World War, economics has influenced the world of our ideas, how we define ourselves, and how we organize our society. Just as the discovery of DNA enables us to look differently at life and ICT progress makes our world smaller in unprecedented ways, the neoliberal model causes a huge shift from common interest to individual interest, and from a long term view to a short one.
At the same time it is striking, in contrast to other natural sciences, how little far-sightedness and imagination this ‘hard’ approach generates. No equivalent of multiple universes, singularity or journeys to the stars. No strange life forms in the ocean depths or on other planets, artificial and/or eternal life. Economics is astoundingly prosaic and, rather than wishing to explore and push back the boundaries of its own domain, it seems to move inward, in precisely the opposite direction.
Since the outbreak of the financial crises in 2007/2008 uncertainty about the effectiveness and validity of the neoliberal model has deepened considerably. Economics, as a social technology in its present form, provides no answers to issues of climate change, social inequality and the lack of security/certainty. At present it cannot help us organize social alliances, public interests or develop long-term prospects. Its results no longer appeal. The added value of gains in efficiency and productivity are increasingly being outweighed by the never-ending disadvantages of reducing all values to be one and the same as the values of the market.
Despite all the questions the current model raises and the criticisms of it being expressed, still no new answers have been proposed. As yet there is no other idea, no new insight. In the search to come, why not start by treating economics like any other technology? Playing it with, hacking it, enriching it with input from other disciplines. Unleashing science fiction on it. Approaching it artistically. In short, taking ownership of it so that we can reshape and rework it as we see fit, and in doing so, have an influence on it. Because however meaningful it may be to criticize the current model, that won’t rid us of it. And we aim to do precisely that.
We will approach economics in an unexpected, playful and fundamental way. And we will look at our economic system, our society with the fresh and at times somewhat detached view of the visitor, the researcher, the gamer, the alien and the artist. We will create a sense of economy as something we have created instead of it being an ‘inevitable’ law of nature.
OPEN CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS & ARTWORKS
We welcome proposals by academic researchers, designers, artists, scientists, students, creative and social entrepreneurs, visionaries and other broad thinkers to apply proposals for papers, presentations and/or artworks, with a focus on at least one of the following five topics:
Economy as evolution
Economics is about development and evolution. Societies develop and the direction they take is determined partly by the type of economic relationships they develop. Parallels are often drawn between these developments in culture and those in nature.
Economy as a game
Economics is about rules and laws. Just like other types of relationships in the edifice of a society, an existing system of economic relationships adheres to certain laws and regulations. Gaming is about learning the laws and rules of a game so that you can play it better and better.
Economy as a fiction
Economics is about ideas and faith. Credit has existed right from the start of societies, in the form of trust that A would pay B. Just as today, you would do a task for future reward in whatever form. Every form of economic relationship is an idea, or to put it better perhaps a prejudice. Which means it can change.
Economy as a market
Economics is about supply and demand. The greatest and most misunderstood cliché. Demand and supply is a way to describe life. Each influences the other in an unpredictable and complex ways.
Economy as magic
The economy is both tangible and invisible. We are familiar with two forms of trade, goods and money. The one that you can handle and the other that exists only in the form of ones and zeros. The latter seems like pure magic. It is with good reason that some of these ‘financial wizards’ call themselves ‘Master of the universe’.
Selected proposals require exploring at least one of the 5 proposed themes, which are at the heart of this conference. Selected speakers are invited to present their research in highly interactive format to enable a lively discussion amongst peers, experts, and the general audience. Send only proposals oriented to the goal of this conference. Only clearly focused works to that end will be considered.
Submissions will be only accepted via: http://openconf.rixc.lv/
More information conference series: http://renewablefutures.net
The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2016.
Length of abstracts: 250 words max. + short biography: 100 words.
Requirements for artworks: Proposals should contain 1 A4 description of the artwork, 2 photo’s and/or a link to website + a full detailed description of your technical needs, including what will you be providing and what are you expecting the organisation to provide.
Program development: Wiepko Oosterhuis.
Curators: Wiepko Oosterhuis, Olga Mink & Raitis Smits.
Conference chairs: Rasa Smite, Olga Mink.
Conference International Scientific Board:
Katja KWASTEK – tbc.
Gediminas URBONAS / MIT – tbc.
Misko SUVAKOVIC – tbc.
Dieter DANIELS – tbc.
Organizers: Baltan Laboratories in collaboration with RIXC and Renewable Futures European network.
Support: EU Program Creative Europe.