Risk As Immaterial Raw Material

1 NEU HD comn-16Still image: Tokyo Will Occur Someday (2016 edition), 1-channel HD-video (15:50 min)

Screened at:
Collapse, Hapjeongjigu, Seoul, South Korea 2016.
Trembling Spaces, Projektraum Römerstrasse, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany 2016.

Excerpts/online article:
Risk as Immaterial Raw Material, in: Technosphere magazine, online dossier of House of the Cultures of the World, Berlin, Germany 2017.

Based on research by the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, the London-based insurance market Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2015‒2025 assesses anthropogenic as well as natural threats to the economies of large cities. Tokyo was ranked as the second riskiest city in the index’s overall rating, with windstorm, market crash, and oil-price shock being the biggest potential threats to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).1 Examining risk from a systemic, finance-focused perspective, the factor of casualties presumably plays a role in regards to a lack of workforce at key production sites or the claims’ burden insurance and governments might face. Therefore, despite the effect the reviewed threats would ultimately have to the individual, the ranking remains largely abstract. Earthquakes, ranked in fourth position in the Index, are an omnipresent threat in Japan and substantiate a specific culture of dealing with the risk of catastrophe.

In so-called Life Safety Learning Centers, the population is exercised to be prepared for the direct and indirect consequences of earthquakes as well as tsunami, typhoons, or volcanic activities. Perils are made tangible with representations to scale, such as miniature models, or simulations of specific scenarios. The impact of an earthquake is broken down to the human scale by reducing its trembling to the measure of a walk-in shaking table. Instructions, for what to do and when, if an earthquake is striking are given prior to entering the shaking table, which is likely designed to match a kitchen, living room, or office, including perils specific to each location.


  1. Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2015-2025 (http://www.lloyds.com/cityriskindex/).

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Still images: Tokyo Will Occur Someday (2016 edition).