Figuring disasters

This paper is a collaborative report on the 2-day thinkshop ‘Figuring disasters: methodological speculations in exorbitant world s’, held in August 2018 in Valparaíso, Chile. The thinkshop aimed at discussing the possibility of inventing new genres for the figuration, representation and visua lisation of distributed, processual and more-than-human geoclimatic disruptions. During the thinkshop, we spent time in Messana, an informal settlement in the outskirts of Valparaíso that was severely damaged in the 2017 fires. We went there to an articulate and experiment in seeing, sensing and intervening disasters in situ. For this report, we assembled a choral essay in which each one of the participants selected one object of our visit to Messana. Each entry includes a photograph of the selected object to weave a bestiary of sorts, a glossary, cabinet or almanac of things with which to engage in the ethico-political questions cracked open by our experiences in Messana.

My personal entry to this collaboration deals with maps, specifically the 3-D Map that the community built with the help of the researchers organizing the workshop. On one hand, the model allows a better understanding of disaster risk, especially about fires but also earthquakes and floods. But on the other, the map has been adopted by the neighbours in a special way: they have put it in a privileged place in their community centre and added name tags of the families that live in each house. This shows that there is something the model allows that is as important as risk management: it shows that Messana exists.   

Reference: Tironi, M; Bacigalupe, G; Knowles, S; Dickinson, S; Gil, M; Kelly,S; Ludwig, J;  Moesch,J;  Molina, F;  Palma, K; Siddiqi, A and Waldmueller, J. (2019) “Figuring disasters, an experiment on thinking disruptions as methods” Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, Vol 7 No 1: 1-22.