Against Catastrophe

April 4, 2024

We appear to live in acatastrophic age...

Orit Halpern
Dresden, April 04, 2024

Our lives are caught between climate change, pandemics, wars, market crashes, biodiversity collapses, and supply chain disruptions. The new normal, it seems, is one where apocalyptic narratives predominate and where precarity is to be expected or even embraced. Many efforts to head off catastrophe, meanwhile, often seem inadequate to the task, embracing status quo politics or hanging their hopes on salvation through technological disruption. What, then, would an anti-catastrophic project that takes our myriad crises seriously but does not fall into the trap of catastrophic thinking look like?

The aim of this project is to interrogate the concept of catastrophe – how it is defined, analyzed, and deployed – and anti-catastrophic practices in an attempt to envision alternatives to our present.

It does so through an edited volume, art and design commissions, and offline and online exhibitions that explore catastrophe and anti-catastrophe in practice around the globe. The focus throughout is on how novel thinking and practice in design, architecture, and technology can open possibilities for more equitably, democratically, and sustainably surviving a catastrophic world, but also expanding epistemic horizons beyond such apocalyptic thinking. The collaborators on the project include international scholars, artists, and journalists , and the project is committed to open collaboration and new partners and participants.


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