How is the economic activity of a country calculated and represented? Are national carbon emissions considered when making such calculations? How did the rising arrow of economic “growth” become the imperative to which every country must aspire?
Disnovation.org is a group of artists, technologists and researchers interested in raising questions about the hidden costs of economic growth. Timed to coincide with COP26, Shadow Growth is a series of online, interactive charts that compile data to show the ecological shadow or ‘counter-visualisation’ of wealth accumulation in different parts of the world. A central objective of the work is to produce useful alternative “photographs” of GDP to be used in daily online interactions.
Visitors are invited to interact with these new speculative data models, and export visualisations ready for circulation and discussion on social media, in presentations, and any other public forum. These images – informed by scientific research and data on the climate crisis – can provide powerful transdisciplinary support to challenge economic presuppositions, and to advocate for climate activism.
By including missing data such as national carbon emissions, the work aims to place the dominant narrative of “growth” into an ecosystemic context. The conventional “flat” representations of economic growth are projected into three dimensions. In doing so, the “social cost of carbon” of a given country, normally hidden within its official Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is revealed.
An accompanying article written by Disnovation.org focuses on the urgency and strategic value of producing and circulating alternative models (and modes of description) to reframe the links between “growth” and ecosystemic crisis.
This online exhibition is part of Imagin(in)g Networks. A year-long programme of events and commissions, organised by The Photographers’ Gallery, Imagin(in)g Networks explores the different networks where images are used and misused.
Hickel J. Quantifying national responsibility for climate breakdown: an equality-based attribution approach for carbon dioxide emissions in excess of the planetary boundary. Lancet Planet Health. 2020 Sep;4(9):e399-e404. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30196-0. PMID: 32918885.
Archer, D., Kite, E. & Lusk, G. The ultimate cost of carbon. Climatic Change 162, 2069–2086 (2020).
Shadow Growth is a project by Disnovation & Baruch Gottlieb, with programming by Jerome Saint-Clair.
Founded in 2012 by Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska, DISNOVATION.ORG is both an art collective and an international workgroup engaged in the crossovers between contemporary arts, research and hacking. Artist and philosopher Baruch Gottlieb joined the collective in 2018. Together, they develop situations of interference, debate and speculation that question dominant techno-positivist ideologies in order to foster post-growth narratives. Their research is expressed through installations, performances, websites and events. They recently co-edited A Bestiary of the Anthropocene, an atlas of anthropic hybrid creatures, and The Pirate Book, an anthology about pirated cultural content.
Their work has been presented at numerous art centers and festivals internationally such as Centre Pompidou (Paris), Transmediale (Berlin), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), FILE (Sao Paulo), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Strelka Institute (Moscow), ISEA (Hong Kong), Elektra (Montréal), China Museum of Digital Arts (Beijing), and the Chaos Computer Congress (Hamburg)… Their work has been featured in Forbes, Vice, Wired, Motherboard, Libération, Die Zeit, Arte TV, Next Nature, Hyperallergic, Le Temps, Neural.it, Digicult, Gizmodo, Seattle Weekly, torrentfreak.com, and Filmmaker Magazine among others.