Week 1: Systems, change and growth

An exciting start! The first session of the HIVE took place on 6 February 2019. After an introduction to the mission of the HIVE, and the journey of co-creation that will unfold, Amber Huff and Andrea Brock presented an overview of some of the defining, and problematic, features of our current socio-economic paradigm. We examined capitalism as a system of exploitation and control, and asked why has it become easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism?

We looked at ideas about alternatives to the current, GDP growth dependent model that is causing crises. Ranging from the degrowth movement, through to ideas about about abundance versus planetary boundaries. Amber challenged to think about ‘what does scarcity thinking do to us as a society?’ and reflect upon whether notions of abundance (of renewable resources) would be more helpful in communicating change. Abundance, we realised, first requires deep redistribution of wealth and resources.

For the afternoon session, half of our 14 artists worked together to unravel some of the ‘invisible threads’ that hold the current system together. Exploring how entrenched metaphors, language, socially constructed assumptions or silences form ‘mental prisons’ that prevent us from seeing other systems as feasible, and prevent us from escaping the capitalism versus communism dichotomy. The other half explored ‘Martian Poetry’ – a technique from a minor poetry movement of the 60’s to help look at our current system with fresh eyes.

Slides and resources

Systems Change and Growth – Amber Huff and Andrea Brock Green economy and the ‘growth fetish’: what are the alternatives? (STEPS Centre blog post by Kathleen McAfee, 2015)                                                       A Degrowth Journey’ (a poem on capitalism from a conference on Degrowth (YouTube)

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