postgrowth.design

postgrowth.design explores speculative scenarios and situated and concrete practices that confront us with the fears and promises, the aesthetics and the ethics, the politics and the affects that appear when we face the challenges of degrowth.

HOW

Design materializes general visions of the desirable and the undesirable through concrete objects and symbols that drive everyday life. Thus, it reproduces material patterns, meanings and behaviors that configure what is considered normal. Its consequences can be maintained for a long time. In some cases, such as certain weather phenomena, thousands of years. Modern design is a product of capitalism. In its ability to address (and create) complex problems, it has been (and is) a fundamental gear in the production of the consumer society, the climate emergency, precariousness, misery and anxiety necessary to maintain the contemporary economic system. As a discipline that is entangled in systems, design is also a tool capable of enriching imaginaries, forms of organization and production, ways of life and subjectivities that tend to a society disengaged from the myths of capitalist growth.

WHO

postgrowth.design is an initiative promoted by the design cooperative for ecosocial transitions Holon and the design studio for futures Becoming in collaboration with Research & Degrowth and ICTA-UAB.

WHAT

In recent years we have carried out different initiatives and projects that we believe encapsulate some of the sensitivities of design from a degrowth perspective, and are working in several workstreams to develop this further. If you are interested in collaboration drop us a line at hola@holon.cat

Las Erres

2050 – Capitalist growth has been definitively limited, the working day is reduced and cities are transformed into more livable and supportive environments. Little by little, cities stop being places of production and consumption to become spaces where life flourishes. This emerging social order, which we call degrowth, is not exempt from contradictions: people have more time but they are orphans of the consumer machine that produces desires. In these times of revolutionary changes and discomfort for some, “Las Erres” is a collective that cares about the ongoing socio-ecological transformations and the people who are going through them. Las Erres is an organization that has evolved from the scouts, is guided by ecological and planetary values and is open to anyone who wants to get involved. They try to make life worthwhile and are aware that the change in the production model must be accompanied by a change in what makes sense and is desirable. Las Erres is based in an old shopping center that, in 2050, has been converted to house organizations and people at the service of the community and planetary well-being. In this flourishing context, the Erres work together to encourage the regeneration of urban and natural ecosystems and to heal human beings. Las Erres is an installation commissioned for the exhibition “The Great Imagination: Stories of the Future”, curated by Jorge Camacho. It explores a future marked by limits and discipline and has been developed together with Giacomo D’Alisa, a member of Research & Degrowth International. Within this framework, it addresses the values, narratives and imaginaries of a scenario where society is moving towards degrowth and where individual, collective and planetary well-being become the new articulated common senses.

Sporae Vita

Sporae Vita is a theory-fiction research project that explores a techno-scientific institution that defines the meaning and mission of life and humanity while deploying a degrowth ethic and limiting myths of capitalist progress. The project presents two posters. The first describes a post-collapse civilization that has brought the planet back to life through bio- and geoengineering and its attendant myths. Sporae Vita is the space agency of this world and its goal is to create the conditions for life to flourish on other planets. To do this, he sends genetically modified humans to inhabit Mars, while systematically communicating the agency’s technological and scientific achievements. The second poster shows the results of a sociological investigation whose object of study is Sporae Vita. A diagram illustrates how the space agency, as the critical infrastructure of this new civilization, reproduces a series of degrowth and post-human myths through scientific programs and demonstrations. In doing so, Sporae Vita identifies certain forms of knowledge as desirable (and thus discriminates against others); it indirectly regulates the residual inertia of the techno-capitalist society that caused the original collapse; and finally organize a particular shared experience of time. Sporae Vita is an installation commissioned to Engineering-fiction.org (Andreu Belsunces Gonçalves) for the exhibition of Mars, the red mirror (CCCB, 2021)

Espai Puntal

puntal.barcelona
@espaipuntal


The bulk of the current agro-industrial production and distribution systems that feed the world are based on the exploitation of land and natural resources, as well as on the relations of domination between over-consuming countries of the global north and precarious producing countries of the global south. The transition towards a more sovereign, fair and sustainable food model must necessarily imply changes at different scales: from politics and the configuration of new social practices, to decolonization processes, through the creation of counter-institutions and alternative infrastructures that are capable of producing and distributing quality food at a fair and accessible price within planetary limits. In the complex tangle that this configures, restaurants and other spaces for the collectivization of food represent an interesting lever for transformation. On the one hand, as a configurator of large-scale economic relationships (the restaurant as a large buyer) and on the other hand as stabilizers of more sustainable social eating practices. Espai Puntal (Bar, Restaurant and Obrador) was born with the aim of being a lever for the transformation of the food system, intervening in daily life and critically questioning related problems such as precariousness in the hospitality industry, the gentrification of Barcelona neighborhoods or desertification of ties and relationships of mutual support.

La Borda de Can Batlló

laborda.coop

Access to housing is one of the most pressing social issues of today’s cities, being housing speculation one of the drivers of 2008’s financial crisis in many countries. In particular to the city of Barcelona, around 20 housing evictions were performed every day when it peaked in 2013 to people unable to pay their mortgages, in 2020 evictions are still present and moved to affect renters. In the period of 2015 to 2018 the price of new built flats rose by 20%, rents by 30% and buying an existing flat costs people 40% more. Furthermore, when the majority of world population lives in cities, innovation in the housing system holds a growing capacity to switch current environmental impacts resulting from existing housing configurations and it’s impact on lifestyles.

 

 

In Can Batlló, one of Barcelona’s citizens success stories of how strong social fabric can transform positively neighbourhoods, La Borda is a community led housing initiative evolving since 2012, stablished as a cooperative in 2014 and living since 2019. With a strong focus in social inclusion and environmental responsibility, the project is pioneering a new wave of initiatives weaving with Barcelona City Council limited social housing efforts.

FOS Barcelona

fosbarcelona.com

 

The use of plastic in consumer goods is today widespread, even in cases where the material is not necessary beneficial to use. FOS Barcelona is a brand that explores the current production and consumption systems, waste management systems and cultural habits around these through products that offer an extended vision about the meaning of quality.

To do so designs and manufactures a high end good such as sunglasses with local plastic waste, with accessible industrial processes and at affordable price. User can also participate in the production processes if willing. To replicate the model, the company sells modls, designs and knowledge to other locations.

A key aspect for the whole postgrowth transitions is to understand quality as the property by which a product performs well for a long period of time, while keeping in balance the ecosystem it interacts with. Therefore, quality should go beyond the mere tangible properties of a product. It should include its wide impacts in society, economy and the environment. This means to go beyond quality as the perception of quality.

postgrowth.design