Modeling Catastrophe. Preliminiary Remarks


Modeling Catastrophe. Preliminiary Remarks
56 color pages, edition of 500, English text, published by AKV Berlin 2020.


A Japanese version has been published under the title
大災害のモデルをつくる 試みとしての構想
[Daisaigai no moderu wo tsukuru. Kokoromi to shite no kōsō]
56 color pages, edition of 300, Japanese text, translated from the English original by The Greece of Asia, published by AKV Berlin 2020.


災の語源は「火」という漢字の上に、川の氾濫を堰き止めるために建てられた木々が燃えている様から成り立つ。
自然現象を統制しようと試みるものの、それをさらに上回る現象が起き、その行先は未知の世界「想定外」へと向かっていく。そこに絡む資本主義の現代社会、大航海時代に始まる植民地主義の歴史を紐解きながら「リスク」とは何か、また情報を個々で解釈することの必要性を問う。
—The Greece of Asia


Two miniature models of the damaged Fukushima power plant are taken as the starting point for a reflection on the means of defining, localizing and visualizing risk: one broadcast live on the Japanese public television channel NHK just after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami had hit the plant, the other crafted in the garage of a German retiree.
Cross-hatched onto maps, risks can be approached deliberately, they can either be confronted or avoided. Yet, maps tend to take effect in one direction, that is, stemming from those in power – who are in the position to compile the map, and to decide what will be depicted and what precluded – onto the governed, who use the map, accept its depiction as given and thereby validate its claims to objectivity.
In the years since the accident the red circle circumscribing the risk zone on maps of the Fukushima region’s coastal area, has been altered according to measurements and negotiations, ensuing clean-up efforts and repopulation programs. The authorities’ objective is to diminish the zones charted as affected by the accident and to have them dissolve and disappear from the map eventually.
The text suggests to approach maps not as given, scaled-down versions of reality, but as both processing tools and moldable material. Participatory mapping practices enable communities to identify threats inherent to their local context and to review and challenge the safety claims posed by official risk models and maps.


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