Compost Capitalism: Art and Aesthetics at the End of Empire
In this stimulating new book, degrowth scholar Samuel Alexander explores these important questions by curating a stunning array of ‘culture jamming’ images from a range of counter-cultural artists. By turns provocative and inspiring, the reader is exposed to art and images that challenge the status quo and expand the horizons of what alternatives are possible. This book is an abridged, image-based version of “Art Against Empire: Toward an Aesthetics of Degrowth,” in which Samuel Alexander advances the degrowth movement by establishing the theoretical foundations of degrowth aesthetics.
An extract from the acknowledgments…
“Late in 2016 I sent an invitation to my online networks calling on artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and renegade marketers to be in touch if they wanted to critically explore the ideas of consumerism, capitalism, degrowth, permaculture, and voluntary simplicity, by way of ‘culture jamming’ images. The goal was to produce art that tripped people up; art that disrupted people’s sense of normality, expanding the imagination and opening up space for new ways of living, thinking, and being. Within a few weeks of that invitation an army of sixty artists had formed, eager to put their creative energies to work. This book is the result of that process, which I called The Dark Cellars Project.
To the artists and activists who have produced the 170 images and artworks that comprise the substance of this book: I admire you; I thank you; I salute you. Your creative energies enrich my spirit and I am confident others will be similarly affected, challenged, and uplifted. This is not my book, this is our book. More precisely, this is your book. I feel a particular debt of gratitude to Chaz Maviyane-Davies, Julie Reason, Lena Singla, Michael Leunig, Pawel Kuczynski, Robbi Wymer, Steve Cutts, James Porto, Mark Henson, John Holcroft, and Maria Pena.”
– Samual Alexander
Paperback with full colour art throughout, 180 pages
Dr Samuel Alexander is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Melbourne, Australia, teaching a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Economy: Critical Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ as part of the Master of Environment. He is also co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a research fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Alexander’s interdisciplinary research focuses on degrowth, permaculture, voluntary simplicity, ‘grassroots’ theories of transition, and the relationship between culture and political economy. His current research is exploring the aesthetics of degrowth.
His books include Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary (2019, co-authored with Brendan Gleeson); Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future (2018, co-authored with Josh Floyd); Art Against Empire: Toward an Aesthetics of Degrowth (2017); Wild Democracy: Degrowth, Permaculture, and the Simpler Way (2017); Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (2016); Deface the Currency: The Lost Dialogues of Diogenes (2016); Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits (2015); Sufficiency Economy: Enough, for Everyone, Forever (2015); and Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (2013); he is also editor of Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture (2009) and co-editor of Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future (2014). In 2016 he also released a documentary called A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity, co-produced with Jordan Osmond of Happen Films.