Visualising the Ends of Growth; keynote presentation by TJ Demos, chaired by Angela YT Chan

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After Growth is a symposium, a gathering of bodies and minds, but it is also an invitation to construct another future. At its core is the belief that prosperity does not depend on economic growth, and that – in the face of ongoing climate catastrophe – there is an urgent need to find new ways of living within planetary boundaries.

The concept of ‘degrowth’ emerges from the confluence of activism, ecology and economics, though it also sits within a larger cultural field of creative and artistic practice. Rather than producing blueprints of utopian visions, many of the contributors to this symposium work towards the creation of spaces where post-capitalist forms of life can be incubated.

This is an edited recording from Day 2 of the symposium, hosted at Nottingham Contemporary on Sunday 20 March 2022.

T. J. Demos is the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in Art History in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founding Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. Demos is the author of numerous books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (Sternberg Press, 2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013) – winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award – and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). He recently co-edited The Routledge Companion on Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change (2021), was a Getty Research Institute Fellow (Spring 2020), and directed the Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar research project Beyond the End of the World (2019-21). Demos was recently Chair and Chief Curator of the Climate Collective, providing public programming related to the 2021 Climate Emergency > Emergence program at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (Maat) in Lisbon. He is presently working on a new book on radical futurisms.

Angela YT Chan is an independent researcher, curator and artist. Her work reconfigures power in relation to the inequity of climate change, through self-archiving, rethinking geographies and speculative fiction. Her recent research-art commissions span climate framings, water scarcity and conflict, and has held residencies with Arts Catalyst, FACT/Jerwood Arts’ Digital Fellowship and Sonic Acts environmental research residency. Since 2014, Angela has produced curatorial projects and workshops as Worm: art + ecology, collaborating with artists, activists and youth groups. She co-founded the London Chinese Science Fiction Group and co-directs the London Science Fiction Research Community. Angela is also a research consultant, having worked in international climate and cultural policy and on climate and sustainability projects for major cultural institutions. Angela holds a joint honours undergraduate in History of Art and Scandinavian Studies with Norwegian (UCL) and an MA in Climate Change: History, Culture, Society (KCL).

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