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Approaching economy in a playful and fundamental way

Economia – The Limited Edition presents unexpected and playful approaches looking at the foundations of our economy, establishing a fresh point of view on the notion of value and economic growth. The program consists of online lectures, workshop/game sessions, a conference, an exhibition and a publication. The edition of the festival takes place from June 25th until October 31st.

Economia is a laboratory of ideas; a place where, for a while, we can step out of the existing frame and approach Economics in an unexpected, playful and fundamental manner. Let’s take another look at our economic system and globalized society with the fresh and sometimes detached view of the visitor, researcher, gamer, alien or artist.

Let’s reclaim the economy as a social and cultural construct that we created, ridding us of the idea of the economy as an inevitable law of nature. Why not play with it, hack it, unleash­ science fiction on it, approach it in an artistic manner?

Since the outbreak of the financial crises in 2008 and the pandemic more recently, the uncertainty about the effectiveness and validity of the neoliberal model increased considerably. Economics, in its present form, provides no answers to climate change and social inequality. Its results no longer appeal.

The main challenges we are facing today are climate change, the degradation of the biosphere and growing inequalities. These issues are different facets of the same problem. What kind of economic system does not worship unlimited growth as its ultimate goal? Which models can we develop that are in synch with the social and planetary boundaries?

Preventing the collapse of ecosystems that support life on this planet will probably require economic growth to be decoupled from the environmental impact of the economy [2]. This raises new challenges about what kind of interventions are needed to establish a fundamental shift in our thinking about economy.

To tackle this shift, we need to change our values and deep held beliefs. Humanity needs far more multidisciplinary thinking, holistic awareness, intuition, if we want to be able to grasp the complexities, we became intrinsically part of [1].

Economia – The Limited Edition invites everyone to critically explore how to invert the paradigm of unlimited growth and reclaim economy as we see fit.

Economia identifies the following threads in its overall program:

#Nature’s Economies: can our economy become like nature, a closed system that grows, flourishes and decays, where flows of matter, lives and energy are feeding each other and balancing out at the same time? What would be needed to create alternatives that adhere to the (existing) laws of nature?

#Shifting Value: shifting the notion of value implicitly changes the economy, since value is the measure of benefit. Acknowledging other values, besides the strictly economic one, has a big impact in the perception of growth and development of our society but also in our personal lives. Can this shift in perception, besides saving us from an environmental crisis, also make us happier and more fulfilled?

#Re-designing Infrastructures: sometimes changing a complex system is not about starting from scratch but rethinking its mechanisms. Infrastructures (work, health, transport, welfare, taxation…) are the building blocks of our economy: could redesigning them trigger a bigger change on a societal level?

Homo Economicus

The theme Economia, derives from Homo Economicus, a concept in which man is first and foremost an economic being, directed towards the satisfaction of his needs in an efficient, rational and logical manner. Economia will examine which systems maintain this deeply held belief and prevent real change. Moving away from a world driven by profits over everything else, Homo Economicus could fulfil its role as an (economic) being in relation with the world, exploring the new ideals of saving the planet, preventing the exploitation of people and fantasizing about inverting the paradigm of unlimited growth.

The first Economia festival was held in 2017 in the Natlab, the former Philips physics laboratory in Eindhoven (NL).

  • [1] Reon Brand, 2019
  • [2] Gonzalez-Redin, Polhill, Dawson, Hill, & Gordon, 2018


  • Concept by 

    Wiepko Oosterhuis and Olga Mink

  • Curator

    Olga Mink

  • Assistant Curator

    Lorenzo Gerbi

  • Project Leader

    Marlou van der Cruijsen

  • Project Officers

    Sarie Hermens and Astrid Vromans

  • Communication

    Matteo Borsato

  • Lab Diary Koen Snoeckx
  • Sessions Facilitator

    Leif Czakai

  • Art Direction

    Lorenzo Gerbi

  • Design Gabriela Baka
  • Website Development Owls Department
  • Video Editing Tommaso Colelli


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