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How about a festival on the economy, but without any real economists? Next Friday to Sunday, 28-30 April, Baltan Laboratories is exactly trying to achieve this. Economy as art, as a way of stepping out of the existing frame of thought. In this way, Economia is a 3-day festival that wants to explore new ideas and thinking about our economy. All this with the purpose to establish a fresh point of view on the economic system and our society.


“No one has a clue. That’s what’s most frightening.”Wolfgang Streeck, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Sciences on the crisis of democratic capitalism

“Economy is paradoxical”, organizers Wiepko Oosterhuis and Olga Mink explain. “The news shows us the importance of the economy every day, yet most of us find it utterly boring. Though in essence economy is all about human behavior, the subject is hijacked by what we call ‘hard’ scientists who are primarily trained to capture the complex economic behavior of people in mathematical models. This approach generates little imagination. It has no equivalent of multiple universes, singularity or space traveling. Economics is astoundingly prosaic and, rather than to explore and push its boundaries, it seems to move inward, precisely in the opposite direction.”

With Economia Festival, Oosterhuis and Mink want to change that. “Since the outbreak of the financial crises in 2007/2008, uncertainty about the effectiveness and validity of the neoliberal model increased considerably. Economics, as a social technology in its present form, provides no solution to issues of climate change and social inequality. It cannot help us organize social alliances, public interests or develop long-term prospects. Its results no longer appeal. The added value of efficiency and productivity are outweighed by the numerous disadvantages of reducing all values to market value. So… Why not play with it, hack it, unleash­ science fiction on it, approach it in an artistic manner?”

Economia Festival wants to treat economics like any other technology, by playing with it, hacking it, using input from other disciplines, unleash­ing science fiction on it, approaching it in an artistic manner. “In short, taking ownership so that we can reshape and rework economics as we see fit.”

Economia is a laboratory of ideas, a place where visitors, for a while, can step out of the existing frame, to approach economics in an unexpected, playful and fundamental manner. “Let us reclaim economy as a social and cultural construction that we created, ridding us of the idea of economics as an inevitable law of nature.”

Economia takes place in the Natlab at Strijp-S. Here’s the complete program of keynote lectures, films, performances, installations, playful interventions, and workshops. Part of Economia is the second Renewable Futures Conference, aiming to push the boundaries of our thinking about economy. Also, Egonomia (with its own downloadable currency for Strijp-S) is part of Economia.

Not to be missed:

Lecture Evgeny Morozov

Lecture Pankaj Mishra

Masterclass Financial Hacking

(Picture (c) South Park, from website Economia)