Teresa Feldmann is a designer and artist who studies the meanings of care and unpaid labour. She is interested in regenerative cultures and the types of habits and mindsets they foster, while acknowledging that the interconnected web of life holds answers to most of our problems. Estonian-born but based in the Netherlands since 2018, she is the brain behind Bank of Care—an ongoing artistic research and a feminist economics informed project that seeks to practise the economy as an ‘art of living’.
The award of a Design Grant by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (2021) has enabled Teresa to dig deeper with the Bank of Care, exploring gift economies, indigenous thinking, and anarchist utopias. She integrates feminist science fiction imagination in her practice, using creative writing as a tool to design thought experiments. With the script ‘Planet Abundance’ she began to inquire into how relations of care would arrange if people had the
freedom of time. Planet Abundance has now evolved into an artist collective who envisions caring post-work futures.
Teresa’s educational background includes an MA in Industrial Design from KABK, The Hague (NL), and a BDes in Product Design from Edinburgh Napier University (UK). Her artworks have been shown at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (NL), Arts Initiative Tokyo (JP), Documenta 15 in Kassel (DE), Castlefield Gallery in Manchester (UK), and elsewhere.
In this sound piece, artist Teresa Feldmann narrates her science fiction script “Planet Abundance: a feminist economist vision of a post-work society”. It is a thought experiment of a future world she desires to inhabit. It begins with The Great Exodus where the current power elites have evacuated to colonise Mars, leaving the survivors on Earth to care for a damaged planet. Led by women of colour, transgender women, and Indigenous peoples, the Earthlings adopt an abundance mindset, finding new and old ways to work together in
repairing their world.
Stories are portals. Hence we need to pick them mindfully. Collaborative world building and speculative fictions are a way to see beyond patriarchal and colonial norms, to retain optimism that a different world is possible. With Planet Abundance Teresa opens a portal to a world where care is abundant, because this is what she manifests for.
From Greek: oikos (household) + topos (place)
Portal opens to a planet. You see soothing nature views from an undisclosed spacetime and hear women voice, list, reason, and reflect on care. In OIKOTOPIA the economy is practised as an ‘art of living’. Oikotopians talk about homemaking—there’s no sense of engaging in something trivial or less-than. There’s also no financial hardship in shouldering care responsibilities. It is fully evident that by caring one creates and releases abundance into the world. Reciprocally, one can enjoy this collectively created abundance, without being
hindered by bureaucratic red tape or politics of deserving-undeserving.
Oikotopians resist the artificial scarcity that late-stage capitalism promotes, by choosing creativity and care over money. When they think about care, they connect human to non-human to planetary, acknowledging that they all participate in the great web of care. As lifeforms, it is in people’s nature to cooperate in caring relationships. This regenerative vision seeks common ground between multitude of agents.
The featuring multilingual audio recordings were collected by Teresa Feldmann in 2020-21. She reached out to women living in various countries and asked them seemingly a simple question: to list their routine chores in the home, from housekeeping to childcare, from thinking to management. Their stories echo each other despite their culturally different surroundings and social class. The recordings form a collection of accounts of the basic economy in action. The creativity, productivity, and autonomy of homemakers offers a trove
of ideas on how to live more regeneratively.
BoC.fm, which stands for Bank of Care & Feminist Money, is a feminist economics driven inquiry presented on a sprawling mind map. The map grew organically as designer Teresa Feldmann dug through heaps of information, searching for promising pathways into the future.
The economics map identifies problems such as the unsustainable workings of banking and finance sectors, as well as the rise of bullshit jobs and the politics that have enabled it. Then it looks into proposals to remedy the situation, from modern matriarchies to gift economies to UBI. Unexpected sources of inspiration became Indigenous thinking and feminist science fiction. The map is largely made up of direct quotations taken from the readings that shaped Teresa’s research in 2021.
The novel The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, features prominently on the map. The classic is a daring thought-experiment of a gender-equal society where nobody owns anything and where money doesn’t exist. Reading The Dispossessed is on the one hand a surreal experience in which the reader is given a pair of alien anarchist eyes to see the workings of our patriarchal capitalist order in greater clarity than ever. Utopias provide a kind of benchmark against which the flaws of real cultures can be more clearly revealed. On the
other hand the novel gives practical guidelines on how an urban tech-driven society can work without money, property, hierarchies, or economic exploitation.
The map devotes a large section to non-Western and Indigenous knowledge systems through the work of Australian Aboriginal scholar Tyson Yunkaporta. In his book Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, Yunkaporta writes engagingly about non-linear time, custodianship, chaos theory, and extended families. Including many direct quotations from the book is Teresa’s attempt to unlearn some of her conditioned thinking patterns and to understand the rich culture of the First Peoples. This map proved extremely handy in communicating the (messy) research journey to mentors and experts.