Centre for Endless Growth

A complete disconnection of our modern concept of “economic growth” from the reality of “natural growth” on this earth has created the most spectacular ecological issues humanity has ever seen. As a response, we built a temporary ‘research centre’ at the University of Edinburgh’s TENT Gallery; a suggestion to reconnect our ideas of economic growth with the natural growth that all of our systems are in the end, realistically bound to.

Images during the Centre for Endless Growth's one week of operation in Edinburgh's city centre
Images during the Centre for Endless Growth’s one week of operation in Edinburgh’s city centre

Project Overview

This piece was built in response to the “Natural Capital Forum,” which was held in Edinburgh and included some of the world’s largest and most wealthy financial institutions and corporations. The proceedings of this form were very concerning for environmentalists, as they looked at nature as an expendable resource, a commodity which was to be bought, sold, and progressively owned and controlled by the very wealthy.

Such ideas of “capital” and “growth” exist in their own bubble, completely disconnected from the reality of this earth, yet unfortunately having some very ill effects on this earth as a result.

In response, we built a temporary ‘Research Centre’ within Edinburgh’s TENT Gallery. Our “Center for Endless Growth” was a call to reconnect our idea of “growth” with the reality of this earth. Specifically, the reality of the nature and the natural cycle of life, death, and growth which our society and economic system rely on for their very existence. This cycle exhibits itself particularly well in the growth of a forest, so we thought, why not bring the forest into the center for growth?

Endless Growth was an active workspace for catalyzing new ways of thinking about growth. Whether private, public, or academic, it offered us a model for how our current methodologies in research and development could benefit from the presence of ‘real’ growth. It also raised the possibility that perhaps simply, habitually, putting ourselves in these sorts of places offers an idea of growth which can re-frame how a society thinks and acts.

Reviews and Feedback

“What in the hell is this? Some kind of joke?”
— economist who was lured by our grand opening invite

“Brilliant project! I loved the fact that I could smell the earth…”
— anonymous visitor comment

Project Team and Partners

Developed and built by Patrick Lydon with Suhee Kang

Support provided by Art, Space, Nature MFA program at Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh.