Section 3: ECONOMY

Driving the Human Festival

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What Is Progress? How Do We Produce and Exchange Value?

By reconnecting with actual needs of living entities, new links between global and local, urban and rural, big and small scale economies can emerge, and »growth« can develop. Currently, progress is defined by socio-economic processes, while it should rather be measured by its positive influence on the Commons, the treatment of nature and human and non-human life. Can the concept of progress be reconsidered? Can a new economic approach help to develop alternative models of production and consumption? This section explores collective and democratic practices, while investigating small scale economies and alternative production cycles.


Statement by John Thackara (philosopher, writer, and curator)
John Thackara speaks about the history of capitalism, the DNA of perpetual growth, and how small islands of incoherence can change the system. Furthermore, the philosopher reflects on the human crisis of imagination which he rather calls a crisis of attention or distraction caused by an overload of media.

Panel discussion
Michel Bauwens (theorist, writer, advisor, and founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives), Susanne Kadner (Head of Circular Economy Initiative Germany), Richard D. Wolff (Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and founder of Democracy at Work), moderated by Anett Holzheid

A discussion about the current state of global economies, taking into account the massive economic setbacks caused by the pandemic. Richard D. Wolfe speaks about the unfulfilled promises which were made by capitalism. In which system might we find the values of liberty, fraternity, and democracy?

Vivien Tauchmann, »Self-As-Other-Training: Retail«

Vivien Tauchmann produced five »Self-As-Other-Trainings« that were shown throughout the festival. The »Self-As-Other-Trainings« address the necessity of educating our bodies through the de-contextualisation of these silent exclusions and the active embodiment of the ‘other’ in choreographed storylines, in order to evoke critical self-reflection and eventually provoke behavioral change. The work seeks to demonstrate that empathy is not only a rational capability, but also a physical state of mind through which we can reshape our connections to people beyond our known scope.

Film screening
Jeremy Shaw, »I CAN SEE FOREVER«, 2018, HD video, 43 min, courtesy Jeremy Shaw and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, London, and Tokyo (Due to legal reasons, this contribution was not recorded.)

»I Can See Forever« is a pseudo-documentary set approximately 40 years in the future. It is presented as an episode of a documentary television series about “The Singularity Project”– a failed government experiment that aimed to create a harmonious synthesis of human and machine. The film recounts the story of the only known survivor, 27-year-old Roderick Dale. During his unique, virtuosic activities, he claims to be able to “see forever” – a multilayered and contentious term that he defines as the ability to transcend to a digital plane of total unity while maintaining a corporeal physical presence.

Driving the Human Festival | Section 3: ECONOMY

Driving the Human Festival
November 20–22, 2020

Organized and hosted by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design

The »Driving the Human« cooperation is initiated and coordinated by four institutions: acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, the international mentoring program Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

»Driving the Human« is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.


Part of the Future Architecture program

A project by