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Report: Economy or: How I learned to stop worrying and love growth by Arne Hendriks and Godelieve Spaas (Performative Talk)

What do Rod Steward, Ulay and Buster Keaton have to do with business and society here and in Africa? And what do business and society here and in Africa have to do with cancer? And what does all of this teach us about our economy? Get ready to find out through this mindboggling compilation, filled with easy to digest stories, theories and slogans as well as double and sometimes even triple layers in its messaging, rituals and subtle humor…

In this session, Artist Arne Hendriks (A) and Professor Sustainable Strategy & Innovation Godelieve Spaas (G) are our guides through a choreography (A-G-A-G-A…) of diverse and sometimes seemingly unrelated stories. Personal ones as well as ones belonging to the public domain.

(A) Us Humans

About the growth of the Human population. “People get ready, there’s a train comin’. You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board. All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’. You don’t need no ticket you just thank the lord.” (Rod Stewart, song by Curtis Mayfield).

(G) Are you ready?

A story of a ritual inside a South-African cave and reading bones. “Your destiny is to build the bridge between science and the indigenous, between economics and the social, between culture and nature. Because all of them is one and we tend to forget that.”

(A) Ghru

On the semantic origin of the word growth. Ghru originally takes place in relation to what went before and to what will come after.”

(G) I might be ready

A story of a professional in the fashion industry and how a global excursion lead to confusion, which lead to fundamental insights and an understanding of mother’s wisdom and personal history. “How do you change a system?”

(A) Big carrots

“The bigger the carrot, the better God’s opinion of you.” A fragment on how the promise of abundance is central in all our religions. And why red arrows should always point down and green ones point up.

(G) Dance

“My body understands what my mind doesn’t.” A story on growth versus community dynamics.

(A) Complexity

Theories on the relationship between complexity and fragility. And an introduction to the ideology and mechanics behind cancer research, which could teach us something about our ideology and mechanics behind our economy and society. “At the end of the day, I always have to return to the cell. To ask if what I imagined is correct. This keeps me modest.” (Hans Clevers – principal researcher at the Hubrecht Institute)

(G) Uncertainty

The true story behind Ulay’s picture. How it relates to the power of uncertainty in the (re)design of our infrastructure and systems. And how uncertainty holds more certainty within than what we would think at first. Also: how personal aspirations can interfere with inclusion and community dynamics. And an insight on the (im)possibilities to change and (re)design systems. “Let’s take back OUR economy”

(A) People, get ready

A ‘manifesto’ on the 10 hallmarks of malignant growth. Inspired by the theories of two renowned cancer researchers. “A balanced relationship with our planet is still possible.”


An entire narrative summarized into a sequence of movements. Brilliant in its (apparent) simplicity.

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