The Thorny Question of Art and Economy was a staged conversation to consider the thorny question of Artists and Business anew. Rather than harnessing ‘creativity’ as a driver of productivity and economic growth, it explored what radically different tactics and vistas artists and designers – whose work is intrinsically involved in navigating business and economics – could open up.
Against the sizzling backdrop of a growth economy whose credentials to maintain a habitable planet have unarguably failed, the discussion of alternatives remains urgent. We were (and are) interested in the potential of artists – blessed/cursed as they are with rich repertoire of strategies for survival and livelihood – as marginal yet powerful avatars for rethinking what business and economics could mean.
What if we cease assessing our activities against prevailing norms and measures of economic ‘success’, but imagine them instead as nondeterministic prospects for living in their own right? What other fundamentally different ways of doing business could be possible? And if these were here all along – How to re/ignite them?
Our topics, tactics and trajectories ranged from business and administration as a site for actual politics, somatic literacy, wild imaginaries and meaningful action – to alternative economies, engaged autonomy, tactical strategies for the gender-technology relationship, conceptualising AI and bullshit, funding and divination, x and X.
This slithery philosophical filibuster and experiential scrum served as a satellite event to the Feral MBA, a radically different kind of business school for/with artists that took place in Hobart over February 2020.