Edited by Frederik Le Roy, Nele Wynants, Dominiek Hoens, Robrecht Vanderbeeken.
Contributions by Lieven De Cauter, Dirk De Meyer, Nicolas de Oliveira & Nicola Oxley, Pedro Gadanho, Vlad Ionescu, Thijs Lijster, Naeem Mohaiemen, Dany Nobus, Eli Noé, Johan Pas, Patrick Primavesi, Christian Salewski and Susan Schuppli.
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 catastrophe that reigns. Worst-case scenarios have always played a role in the way our culture has imagined the future. The impending depletion of the world’s oil resources, the devastating effects of climate change, steep population growth, the breakdown of the economic system, pandemics and the threat of international terrorism have made catastrophe into a crucial notion to understand our relation with our time today. More than ever before, the expectation of catastrophe shapes our notion and experience of temporality and inﬂuences our ability to act in the present.
This book wants to question the present future of calamity by focusing on the imagining of catastrophe, in art, architecture and philosophy. It collects some of the most inspiring contributions of the conference and reﬂects the interdisciplinary approach of this meeting. 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.