Page 1

Tickle Your Catastrophe! Imagining Catastrophe in Art, Architecture and Philosophy Introduction

In 2007, on the Spitsbergen archipelago, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened, or rather, sealed off. In this underground vault, dug 120 meters deep into the arctic rock of a Norwegian island, specimens of the seeds of millions of plants have been preserved in specially designed containers. The aim of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is to assure crop diversity in case a global catastrophe would wipe out parts or even all of the Earth’s vege­ tation. This futuristic-looking complex is constructed in such a way that it can resist any conceivable catastrophe, from rising sea levels caused by global warming to a nuclear holocaust. This modern-day version of Noah’s ark serves as a metaphor for the present-day conceptua­ lization of catastrophe we want to address in this book. The vault can be considered as a sort of time machine that should enable us one day to return to a past unaffected by catastrophe. At the same time, the seed vault is also symptomatic of our ambivalent relation to the very idea of a devastating catastrophe. We presume the real possibility of such a disastrous event, while at the same time, catastrophe appears to us (Westerners) as an unreal media spectacle, which inhibits us from undertaking real action. The tension resides in a paradoxical position, as analyzed by Jean-Pierre Dupuy; we know that catastrophes await us, but we cannot believe it.[1] On a practical level, then, we only seem capable of coping with this tension by imagining the day after a catastrophe and/or passively awaiting the occurrence of such a calamity. This divided attitude is


TYC-160x240.indd 1

indicative of the fact that, even if it is often only an abstract concept, the expectation of a future calamity shapes our notion and expe­ rience of temporality and impels us (or should impel us) to act in the present. An important transition seems to have occurred. Whereas at the end of the twentieth century societies had to work through the traumatic effects of a century of political extremism and found the drive to rebuild society in the prospect of a better future, it is now, at the beginning of this new century, the fear of an inevitable and complete cata­ strophe that reigns. We have moved from the ‘present past’ of trauma to the ‘present future’ of catastrophe. In this book, we want to question this shift by focusing on the imagining of catastrophe, both past and present, in art, architecture and philosophy. The origin of this transdisciplinary collection of essays goes back to the twoday conference Tickle Your Catastrophe! that took place in March 2009 at the Arts Centre Vooruit in Ghent (Belgium). The conference was part of the art festival The Game is Up! How to Save the World in Ten Days that presented a diverse programme including dance and theatre performances, media art and music, all of which expressed, confronted, criticized, or questioned the desire to change the world for the better. The conference brought together artists, activists and researchers in cultural studies, performing arts, architecture, visual arts, philosophy, activism, lite­rary studies, urbanism and psychoanalysis. In addition


7/03/11 08:21

to these presentations, it also included an evening with performance art works by Peter Cusack, Marc Vanruxt, Hans bryssinck, Ant Hampton and Naeem Mohaiemen. this book is an afterimage of this conference and collects some of its most inspiring thoughts and lectures that gave rise to (often heated) exchanges between artists, scientists and philosophers. It reflects the versatile and interdisciplinary approach of this gathering, which was motivated by the acknowledgment that parallel patterns can be found in the ways art, architecture and philosophy deal with catastrophe and by the need to start a dialogue on this topic among these fields. Some of these patterns are reflected in the arrangement of this volume, which consists of four groups of texts. the first part entitled “Ruin Value” addresses the motif of the ruin in visual art and urban planning. The second section “State of Emergency” gathers texts on catastrophism in philosophy and literature. the contributions of “Media disaster” focus on how images of catastrophe are mediated and mediatized in film, painting, the news and the performing arts. Subsequently, the final section “Worst-Case Scenarios” considers the method of scenario thinking as a common strategy in the political discourse on global warming, the military, artistic interventions and urban planning. One of the major concerns informing both the conference and this book was the question of how to respond to catastrophe today. Worst-case scenarios have always played a role in the way our culture has imagined the future – from a Christian belief in God’s wrath and the Final Judgment to the modern image of a catastrophic future that is the rhetorical opposite of a discourse of progress and emancipation. At the beginning of this new millennium, however, catastrophe has taken on a different form: the impending depletion of the world’s oil resources, the implosion of the global economy and the breakdown of financial markets, the threat of international terrorism, the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and steep

population growth, the effects of pollution, major climate change, disastrous floods and new epidemics. Not only have we become increasingly aware that the threat of catastrophe is real and inevitable but we also realize that we are making these things happen due to our contemporary lifestyle and therefore cannot simply blame divine providence, fate or the forces of nature. the catastrophes on the horizon today will be primarily manmade. This awkward insight, however, does not seem to be sufficient as a call to action. On the contrary, it results in a paralyzing paradox: we know that we are responsible, but we lack the agency, tools and spirit to offer an antidote. What do we gain by knowing that we are part of the problem, if we do not know how to become part of the solution? in her presentation at the conference, artist and engineer Natalie Jeremijenko called this problem the inevitable ‘crisis of agency’ when dealing with catastrophe. Climate change is a prime example of such a crisis. As a global phenomenon, it demands a global response, but at the same time a geopolitical consensus on how best to avert its disastrous consequences seems unattainable. In addition, the point of no return, when even a concerted effort would no longer be effective in addressing the repercussions of a warmer, more polluted atmosphere, is getting closer with every international climate panel or global warming summit – if we haven’t crossed that point already. How then are we as individuals and as a society to act? What can we do to escape this infernal dynamic? A manifest tension exists between, on the one hand, a pessimistic catastrophism that stresses the bankruptcy of policy and thus the lack of organized and forceful action that can truly have an impact, and, on the other hand, a more optimistic pragmatism that believes in the power of a bottom-up approach. For the latter, individual awareness, community action and micro-utopias, rather than overarching narratives of progress or global policy (which have shipwrecked on


TYC-160x240.indd 2

7/03/11 08:21

the submerged shores of the present), can still shape the future. These activists, often aligned with the alterglobalist movement, believe the next big thing will be many small things. Alternative projects such as activist public interventions, guerrilla gardening, bike shops, the organic food movement, (some forms of) vegetarianism and art projects such as Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic stand up for a constructive answer to the crisis. In the face of catastrophe, they attempt to restore agency from the bottom up. But will this actually change our way of life and create new forms of society that rely less on an economic logic of consumption, speculation and the accumulation of products and profit? And what can we do as artists, students, voters, activists, consumers and intellectuals? At the end of his book Violence, Slavoj Žižek proposes that in certain contexts it is better to leave agency behind altogether. Politicians, artists and academics are constantly invited to intervene and shed light on topical world issues like climate change, famines, exploitation and other infringements of human rights. For Žižek, all this debate amounts to a way to compensate for or even to mask the fact that we are not capable of radically ma­ king any difference. Therefore, “The threat today is not passivity but pseudo-activity” (Žižek 2008, 217). This pseudo-activity (all the debates, endless reports and summits, grassroots movements and half-hearted policy measures) is problematic because it fuels the illusion that we are doing ‘something’. The truly difficult thing to do in this context is not to act but to withdraw, take a step back, to reject the format within which these debates take place and to decline the invitation to express an opinion and to assert one’s right not to participate. This apparent passivity may question the milieu within which ecological, economic and political catastrophes are managed more profoundly than a democratic debate is capable of. This collection of essays does not aspire to offer definitive answers to this crisis of agency. Yet,


TYC-160x240.indd 3

we also wish to avoid the opposite problem, namely, the reduction of a reflection on catastrophe to merely discursive musings. After all, if we may hope for something from art and science today, it is that they can give us the impetus to imagine or represent alternative visions and approaches to the world that go beyond the cynicism now seemingly intrinsic to the artistic and academic world. As the original meaning of the title of this book (a reference to a line from Shakespeare’s Henry IV) suggests, we want to give the concept of catastrophe ‘a kick up the backside’. In its attempt to echo some of the diverse voices that resound in catastrophic discourse (many of which were represented at the conference), we hope that this collection of essays can inspire reflections about catastrophe that do not paralyse but tickle our imagination.

Ruin value We began our exploration of catastrophe with the image of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as an illustration of the way in which our thoughts and actions today are (or should be) affected by the projection of a coming catastrophe. The seed vault provides a buffer against the inevitable; a time capsule that should stand tall when the world around it goes to pieces. For centuries, however, one of the major figures of catastrophe has been the decaying building, and it is that figure we will turn to first: the ruin. The first two essays, by Dirk De Meyer and Johan Pas, start with the observation that the figure of the ruin has made a remarkable comeback in the world of contemporary art during the last decade. Framing this trend with the necessary historical depth, De Meyer and Pas each sketch an episode from the history of the (love for) ruins in art and architecture, which, when read together, offer a broad genealogy of ‘ruin value’. Ruins inevitably question the present, either as melancholic memorials to lost worlds or as stark reminders of the limits of any aspiration to build or construct structures (material or other) that would stand the test of time. Yet, despite the


7/03/11 08:21

dreadful reality at the heart of every ruin, ruins fascinate us to the extent that they have given birth to an aesthetics of destruction that stretches from the beginning of modernity (de Meyer), through the counter-modernist movements of the second half of the twentieth century (Pas), up to contemporary art today. this last stage is discussed in the third essay of this section on ruin value, in which writers Nicola Oxley and Nicolas de Oliveira show how the figure of the ruin functions in the work of such contemporary artists as Hans Op de Beeck and Patrick Jolley. in “Catastrophe and its Fallout”, the architectural historian dirk de Meyer traces the history of the ruin motif in visual arts and architecture. the seminal moment of this history is, according to De Meyer, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and the ensuing debate among the European intelligentsia about the rationality (or lack thereof) of this event. As confident as it might have appeared, the Age of Reason discovered that, despite its aspirations, all that is solid might one day melt away. Consequently, De Meyer demonstrates how the sentiment that buildings, artefacts and societies of the present are the ruins, fossils and memories of the future is an important Leitmotif of modernity. this trope re-emerges in the work of numerous artists in eighteenth-century painting, in nineteenth-century romanticism and early war photography, during the Second World War with the attempts at heritage protection and of course with Albert Speer’s theory of Ruinenwert, from which we drew inspiration for the title of this section. Focusing on the work of Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark and Luc deleu, art historian Johan Pas discusses how the ruin motif functions as a catalyst for a critique of “high modernism and its idealist and Cartesian preoccupations.” in “Ruins and Reconstructions”, he shows that for these artists the ruin is not a figure of melancholy, the trace of a lost world (past or present) but a tool for creativity and critique. Smithson’s consecration of decaying

or unfinished buildings (which he calls ‘dearchitecturalization’), of post-industrial wastelands and of entropy in general, for example, were meant to offer an alternative to the a-historical grid-structures of minimalism. Matta-Clark gave Smithson’s positive appraisal of ‘modern ruins’ an activist tone. His ‘anarchitectural’ interventions, creating ‘modern ruins’ by cutting holes in abandoned buildings, often in derelict neighbourhoods, tried to rethink urbanism in the (post)modern city. Finally, the architect Luc deleu introduced the idea of the city as a constantly decaying construction site. For deleu, the city is not a closed, predetermined structure but an open, adaptable space. in all these examples, the ruin begs the artist and the architect to creatively re-use and recycle what already exists. Every structure, from the moment it is built, is always already starting to crumble. it is from this realization that these an-architects draw their energy. In the essay by Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley, ruination does not correspond to a state of physical objects like buildings or cities but to a certain experience of the passage of time and thus of our own ‘passing’ as human beings (both in the sense of being subject to change and being mortal). “in Ruins” is a thoughtful reading of the work of Hans Op de Beeck and Patrick Jolley in which the authors show how both artists convey this ‘sense of ruination’ in film and video installations. Based on miniature reproductions of fictive landscapes or reenactments of childhood memories, Op de Beeck’s works are manifestations of the paradoxical connections between remembrance and oblivion. Jolley’s films show a different kind of temporality. the characters in his films, who are literally drowned or set aflame, are all immersed in a condition of endless waiting. Ruination here doesn’t refer to the excess of memory or to a sudden collapse, but is felt in its temporal duration and the loss of control over the destination of time. Catastrophe here is not the end but the apparent endlessness of things.


TYC-160x240.indd 4

7/03/11 08:21

State of emergency As mentioned previously, the notion of cata­ strophe refers to time and our relation to it. It seems obvious to situate a catastrophe in the future, as something that will or may happen. This would allow us to distinguish it from trauma, which tends to be related to the past. But just as trauma defies a merely chronological account of human existence (since, first of all, a trauma is not only past but in its traumatic quality is something (too) present that cannot be incorporated into a past history and, secondly, a past trauma can be triggered by an event that belongs to the future) catastrophe deserves a closer examination in its relation to subjective time.

circumstances (that is, nineteenth-century France), Baudelaire also relies on allegory in order to articulate modern ennui and lack of experience. If we must understand as catastrophe what we consider to be progress, the obvious question is whether there is any attitude possible other than that of a melancholic witnessing of the catastrophe that we mistakenly believe to be progress (e.g. commodification, boredom and so on). Lijster finds a possible answer to this question in the passages where Benjamin indicates that there can be something gained from considering progress as a catastrophe, as that which interrupts the continuous flow of time.

The contributions by Thijs Lijster, Dany Nobus and Eli Noé all explicitly focus on the question of time. Given the paradoxical questions catastrophe raises, all three dimensions of past, present and future are touched upon. Thijs Lijster gives a Benjaminian account of (past) history, whereas Dany Nobus questions our present subjective fantasies about possible catastrophes, while Eli Noé, for his part, turns to Philip K. Dick in order to highlight how the science fiction of future catastrophes invites us to reconsider our contemporary state of emergency.

In his essay “The Worst is Yet to Come”, Dany Nobus gives a critical account of Slavoj Žižek’s statements on how we should deal in the present with catastrophes in the future. Žižek’s use of Lacan’s future anterior is analyzed, along with his urge to treat catastrophes as necessary future events – a strategy that should allow us to prevent those calamities by changing their prehistory (i.e. our present). Nobus argues that this does not solve the implied dilemma: either the catastrophe is inevitable and any action undertaken is a naive or desperate gesture or the cata­strophe is merely possible and hence there is no reason to treat it as an unavoidable event. In a second part, and in reference to the film The Age of Stupid (Franny Armstrong, 2009), Nobus criticizes the catastrophizing way we think and relate to catastrophes. The author describes this as narcissistic; that is, the tendency to overestimate or misunderstand one’s own subjective involvement in things that happen, which takes the form of a barely concealed heroism.

Lijster opens his essay “Corresponding Cata­ strophes” by quoting the well-known ninth thesis of Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History”. History, according to Benjamin, is not a story of incessant progress and its counterpart (i.e. catastrophe as that which blocks this progress), but the unfolding of catastrophes that are identical to what we may consider to be progress. Lijster illustrates this by discussing two examples taken from Benjamin: Baroque Trauerspiel and the work of Charles Baudelaire. From the first The last text in this section deals with Philip example, we learn that modernity is char- K. Dick’s science fiction. Borrowing notions acterized by a sense of brokenness, suffering, from Frederic Jameson, Eli Noé argues in lack of freedom and disorder. The appropriate “Mapping the Present Through Catastrophe” tool for staging this is (the Baroque) allegory, that Dick’s work seems to situate catastroas opposed to (the classical) symbol. In differ- phe in the future but actually describes a ent historical, economic and socio-cultural current state of affairs. Dick employs a


TYC-160x240.indd 5


7/03/11 08:21

post-catastrophical perspective as a means to ‘map’ the present, as an oblique way of reflecting on the here and now. Whereas other authors question what will remain of humanity after ‘the big event’, Dick makes clear how the fictional representation of a catastrophe as a silent and ongoing destruction allows us to consider catastrophe as if it had already taken place and how this affects our contemporary life. This way of looking at the present from a (futuristic) catastrophic perspective allows us to see how our humanity has in fact already undergone a catastrophe, having been contaminated with non-human elements or transformed into non-human (or more than human) beings. This questions the certainty with which we refer to ‘humanity’ or ‘human beings’, but also offers the possibility of finding answers in the present to what we usually consider to be problems in the future.

medIa dISaSter The good news about reflecting on catastrophe is that we do not immediately experience the effects of its having taken place. In that case, of course, we would not have the time to fantasize about it. Having the opportunity to dwell on the idea of catastrophe might even be an indication of prosperity, similar to the way in which past cultures at their apex flirted with the idea of their downfall. This brings us to the bad news. Despite the fact that any particular catastrophe is disastrous by definition, the true threat of catastrophe is found in the fact of not knowing what disaster will happen and when. In our secularized, postmodern world, we no longer really have any collectively shared, single image of catastrophe. While in ancient cultures or religious worldviews this image would still exist (from the solar eclipse in incan culture to the Judgment day of Christian theology), today, for the most part thanks to Hollywood films, we have many images of catastrophe: nuclear war annihilating modern culture, ecological disasters turning nature into a rubbish dump, a global pandemic that threatens to wipe out humanity, monstrous space

invaders or gigantic killer meteors that destroy our planet with deadly tsunamis and lethal ash clouds and so on. If we take stock of all the images of catastrophe (both real and fictional) that our media society bombards us with, we might start to wonder: what do we need to fear first? Contemporary media are clearly involved in the business of disaster tourism, for the evident reason that calamities guarantee the sensational visuals that attract the attention of the viewer/consumer. Both the news industry and entertainment economy involve fierce competition for audience ratings. Paradoxically, in order to be successful, they tend to imitate each other, thus bringing about a blurring of the reality of fact and fiction: a last-ditch, global and overpowering 24/7 spectacle. This multimedia spectacle is clearly the most visible expression of today’s catastrophism, often mediating and mediatizing all other images of catastrophe. Hence, in order to learn more about the images of catastrophe today, or the absence thereof, it is necessary to scrutinize those images that escape or at least resist inclusion by mass media. The contributions of Patrick Primavesi, Vlad ionescu, Susan Schuppli and Naeem Mohaiemen gathered in the third section focus on the search for such non-mediatized disasters in performance, painting, video and photography. In his “It Takes Place When It Doesn’t”, Patrick Primavesi discusses how catastrophe is dealt with in theatre and the performing arts. Compared to the audiovisual and ‘real time’ mass media (television and the internet), both theatre and performance art have long since become rather marginal when it comes to the representation of catastrophes. Nonetheless, the live staging of catastrophe has the potential to become an intriguing antidote to the multimedia spectacles of catastrophe. With this in mind, Primavesi discusses five exemplary performance productions of the last decade that all focus on the impossibility of creating clear-cut, stable


TYC-160x240.indd 6

7/03/11 08:21

or manageable images of the catastrophic event: Showtime! and First Night by Forced Entertainment, Three Atmospheric Studies by William Forsythe, Nothing Can Surprise Us by Andrea Bozic, and Real Fiction by Cuqui Jerez. Vlad Ionescu, in his essay “‘It is as if ….. a cata­ strophe overcame the canvas’”, turns to pain­ ting. Here, he conducts a philosophical analysis of how catastrophe or ‘diagram’ can be understood within a Deleuzian framework. Ionescu argues that Deleuze’s reflections on the paintings of Francis Bacon try to make explicit the difference between the image as mimesis versus the image as the dissolution of the pictorial space, due to accidental and indeterminate gestures that overwhelm the entire canvas. The uncontrolled outburst of colours and lines across the painted surface, as in the case of abstract expressionism, transforms the canvas into a field of force with no consideration for representability. That is, unless, perhaps, we consider ‘catastrophe’ to be an efficient pictorial device for a presentation of catastrophe as such. Susan Schuppli addresses the issue in documentary film, where she discovers a completely different take on the image of catastrophe. In her essay “The Most Dangerous Film in the World”, she discusses the unique character of Shevchenko’s film Chronicle of Difficult Weeks. During his filming of the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, Shevchenko’s film stock was contaminated by radiation. The resulting distortion of the sound and imageflows by the Geiger counter-like crackling of the radiation displaces our initial confidence in the purely representational status of the film as a media artefact. It instils a sense of dread that comes with the realization that what we are witnessing on this film is in fact an unholy representation of the real: an amorphous and evil contagion that continues to release its lethal discharges into the present and future yet-to-come. While watching the images of this catastrophe, the unexpected filmic rupture of the radiation literally immerses us into the contact zone of the event.


TYC-160x240.indd 7

We conclude this section on non-mediatized disasters with a collection of photographs. In January 2009, artist Naeem Mohaiemen attended two protest rallies (one organized by liberal left activists, the other organized by Islamist groups) that took place on the same day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He collected photographic impressions of this suppressed calamity, focusing on how news media reporters try to frame these events as a news item, while at the same time trying to situate himself in relation to these events from behind the lens.

Worst-Case Scenario Let’s assume the end is near. How exactly will it happen? And what can we do to prevent it? Or, if we can’t prevent it, what would be our best response, the best possible outcome malgré tout? This section contains contributions that deal with scenarios in policy, science and art as a way of thinking through and anticipa­ting possible catastrophic futures. Planning for the future has become a specialty in many different scientific fields: climatologists project possible future weather patterns, biologists examine the development of species under dire environmental conditions, military strategists plot the effects of strikes and counterstrikes, bio-engineers use so-called ‘remote sensing techniques’[2] to predict the effects of hurricanes or wildfires. These ‘futuro-logical’ scenarios show a remarkable creative and imaginative side of science, bordering on what science fiction writers and artists have done for decades. The scientific aura of these risk analyses and calculated predictions, however, can also give a false sense of control over the catastrophic future. Self-proclaimed philosophical activist Lieven De Cauter opens this section with a frightening re-reading of two major reports on climate change from 2007, comparing them to the famous and almost forty year-old The Limits to Growth (Report to the Club of Rome). The perplexing conclusion that almost nothing has changed since then gives a concrete


7/03/11 08:21

face to what the worst-case scenarios would look like if mankind does not take immediate action. In this combative text, De Cauter characterizes our possible future as the “Mad Max Phase of Globalization”, referring to the second Mad Max film The Road Warrior, a trashy sci-fi movie in which oil scarcity has turned the planet into a low-tech, chaotic, neo-medieval society run by gangs, the sort of world also described in many cyberpunk novels. in his essay on critical scenarios and paranoia, Christian Salewski discusses the anxiety and the power structures that govern the stories about our future. In “Dr. Strangelove, I Presume”, he questions the paranoid-critical use of scenarios for military planning. Strategist Herman kahn introduced this scenario method to prepare for the unknown, unknowable and incredibly terrifying future of thermonuclear war. A similar scenariobased approach, Salewski argues, can later be found in The Limits to Growth (Report to the Club of Rome) or in business’s scenariofacilitated reactions to the oil crisis. Salewski contrasts these uses of scenarios with those of Rem koolhaas. Contrary to kahn, koolhaas applied the concept of paranoia to the past. His paranoid-critical history of New york as the city that epitomizes the twentieth century has become a key text for many contemporary architects and urban planners. Scenarios, however, do not have to be paranoid descriptions of a possible future, but can become performative acts in the present.

Utopian literature and science fiction have not only consistently taken the pulse of current (sometimes unconscious) preoccupations, but they have also helped to direct societies towards hoped-for futures. Similarly, the Portuguese architect, curator and critic Pedro Gadanho, advocates for a more optimistic approach to experimental design under conditions of emergency. both through curatorial work and critical writing, Pedro Gadanho has focused on how environmental changes like global warming or desertification may, in the long run, displace the centres for cultural and technological development away from the West. In his essay “Emergence vs. Emergency”, he looks at fringe megacities (which he calls ‘megalopolises’) and shows how extreme conditions breed innovation. Economic disaster, culture shock or a lack of resources can lead to survival and design techniques that are unknown or forgotten in more ‘advanced’ societies. Facing a worstcase scenario might simply mean that we must consider other ways of looking at and responding to critical problems. With this pragmatic and constructive note we close this anthology.

acknoWledgementS We want to express our gratitude to some of the people and institutions that have made this book and the original conference possible. For financial support to the conference, we would like to thank the Jan van Eyck Academie, the Studies in Performing Arts & Media Department of Ghent University, the Faculty of Fine Arts of University College


TYC-160x240.indd 8

7/03/11 08:21

Ghent (KASK) and the Dutch Association of Aesthetics (NGE). The conference would also not have been possible without support and hospitality of Arts Centre Vooruit. We would especially like to thank artistic programmer for performing arts and media arts, Tom Bonte and Eva De Groote of Vooruit. Last but not least we want to thank our felloworganizer Mia Vaerman whose input and relentless enthusiasm helped to make the conference a success.

Notes [1] [2]

See for example, Dupuy 2002 and Dupuy 2005. At the Tickle Your Catastrophe! conference, for example, bio-engineer Inge Jonckheere advocated the use of remote sensing techniques via satellite and photographic data to effectively predict forest regrowth. This is a good example of how science uses data from the past to look into the future.

References • Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. 2002. Pour un catastrophisme éclairé:

Quand l’impossible est certain. Paris: Seuil.

For the financial and practical support necessary to make this anthology, we would like the thank the following institutions: Jan van Eyck Academie, the Studies in Performing Arts & Media Department of Ghent University, the Research Centre for Visual Poetics at the University of Antwerp, the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and the Faculty of Fine Arts of University College Ghent (KASK). For their invaluable contribution to this book, we would also like to thank the following people (in random order): the staff of Academia Press and in particular Pieter Borghart and Peter Laroy, the series editors of Studies in Performing Arts & Media, our meticulous copy-editor Ralph Palm, Emiliano Battista for helping to coordinate the copy-editing process, David Depestel for carefully correcting the proofs and graphic designer Marie Wynants for the wonderfully ‘disastrous’ look and feel of this book.

• Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. 2005. Petite métaphysique

des tsunamis. Paris: Seuil. • Žižek, Slavoj. 2009. Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. New York: Picador.

The editors


TYC-160x240.indd 9


7/03/11 08:21

Tickle Your Catastrophe!  

Intro and table of contents

Tickle Your Catastrophe!  

Intro and table of contents