Down to the Economy

Vienne Chan and Katja Meier

What would our societies and economies look like if they were designed by those with Down Syndrome?

Societies value intelligence, and most are developed according to a very specific kind of intelligence that values technical and instrumental capabilities. However, this has not necessarily led us to desirable societies as large swaths of the population experience injustice and insecurity. In search of a different and more equitable future, this project imagines a society based on a different kind of intelligence.

The project team is composed of an artist who has been researching economy and a theater pedagogue who has been working with people with disabilities including those with Down Syndrome. Together with members of the Down Syndrome community, they will aim to answer this question.


Vienne Chan approaches money as a medium of social sculpture and seeks ways of re-imagining it to better address social needs. She has held a European Media Art Platform (EMAP) residency at m-Cult in Helsinki (2020), a Weisman Art Museum Creative Collaboration residency with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota (2019). Vienne holds a MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from Bauhaus Universität Weimar, and was a recipient of a Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Scholarship. She is currently on the editorial board for the peer-reviewed journal, Money on the Left. Vienne lives in Duisburg, Germany. 

Katja Meier studied education at the University of Lüneburg with a focus on educational work and social pedagogy, dealing with the interface between social and cultural work. She currently works at the Theater Lüneburg, and as a freelance theater pedagogue for the Thalia Theater, where she leads the inclusive theater group Eisenhans. At Theater Lüneburg, she is responsible for the youth clubs, the accompanying program for the Jungen Bühne, and dramaturgical introductions. With the music theater director Kerstin Steeb, she has recently created the opera film Der Wald, based on an opera about right-wing mindsets in Germany by the British composer Ethel Smyth.