Biblically Responsible Investing by Laura Brouwer (NL, 1995) is a video installation and a mixed media sculpture, showing the relevance when religion enters the daily practice of global financing.
Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is a Christian investment approach that aligns with the investor’s faith and biblical beliefs. Christian investors exclude companies from their investment portfolios that are involved in affairs such as abortion, contraception, and the LGBTQ community. Indirectly God is the portfolio manager.
Laura did extensive research and discovered open-source BRI databases and screening tools to scan for so-called ‘sin stocks’. In these databases, Christian portfolio managers are constantly keeping track of companies’ violations and update reports with detailed descriptions of infringements. The data of this research is reflected in the video installation and a mixed media sculpture.
The origins of this thesis can be found in Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, a small religious town situated in the Dutch Bible Belt. It is the town where I grew up and lived for two decades. I always felt completely out of place within the religious and social structures the church created. I had trouble with the hierarchy, surveillance and restrictions that were telling me how to live, how to behave, and how to be as a person. After moving away from this environment I found the space to think about these things, which I did extensively over the past few years. This kind of liberation was necessary to realise how conflicting some power structures, hierarchies and ideologies are. In this thesis I explore if capitalism can be considered as a by-product of Christianity and, if so, how these two are intertwined. I connect the core values of the Christian church directly to the core values of capitalism. My research isn’t only executed behind the computer or in a library, but also includes important conversations, reflections on experiences, insider knowledge and even entering sacred spaces. This research resulted in a, sometimes confronting, but remarkable analysis and reflection of our western capitalistic society.