(C) Too Much Money, 2014, Artistic Bokeh

Representing Sustainability – Economic discourse and artistic practise

Lecture by Georgios Papadopoulos

Representing sustainability is about finding creative ways to bridge the gap between, economy society and culture. The talk addressed the contribution and the limitations of economic discourse in setting an agenda of growth, at the same time as it reflected on a role for artistic research and practice in sustainable development.
The presentation analysed the ability and the limitations of economics to account for the complex relation between society, market and environment. Sustainable development needs to address all these areas and to find a coherent discourse that can account for them. Economics, with its ability to ascribe values to very different objects and states of affairs, tends to assume the function of a meta-narrative that can organize the complex relation between society and the environment, providing tools for evaluation. Nevertheless, the imposition of economic logic is neither neutral nor objective as economists often assume. The imposition of the economic logic on the external reality passes through the re-presentation of our environment as an economic system, carrying with it all the presuppositions and the principles of the economic point of view. Rationality, profit maximization, and consumerism are some of the defining assumptions of economic analysis that are not necessarily consistent with a sustainable approach to growth. The discussion discussion reflected on the underlying assumptions of economics and presented the incommensurabilities between economy, society, and the environment in order to rethink the contribution of economics as a tool in promoting sustainability. The presentation concluded by rethinking the role of art as a research methodology and as a practice that can thrive on these incommensurabilties and forge new relationships between the economic, the social and the natural world.

Georgios Papadopoulos combines economics, philosophical analysis and aesthetics with an exploratory artistic practice. His research gravitates around money and its socioeconomic functions. He studied Philosophy of Economics at the London School of Economics and completed his PhD at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. In 2008 & 2009 Papadopoulos was a researcher at the theory department of Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and in 2012 won the Vilém Flusser Award for Artistic Research from the transmediale festival in Berlin.

Fact Box

Representing Sustainability – Economic discourse and artistic practise
April 29, 2014, 11:00h