Artistic Response to Natural Disasters: The Case of New Orleans

Japan’s experience with earthquakes can help teach us to learn to live with floods

japan experience 2
An earthquake drill for passengers and staff at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, the world’s busiest train station by passenger numbers. Franck Robichon/EPA

The intense rainfall from storms this winter has caused severe flooding in numerous cities across the UK. The storms have left at least eight people dead, and economic losses have been estimated at a few billion pounds. The government has responded by announcing flood defence spending will be doubled to £5.2 billion pounds over the next five years. Such severe flooding may seem like a rare event, but – as those living in the most flood-prone areas will tell you – it is not.

There was flooding to a similar if not greater extent between December 2013 and January 2014, which killed 17 people and cost £1.3 billion in economic losses. At the time the Met Office reported that it was the wettest Dececember-January period on record. There was also major flooding across the UK in 2016, and previously in 2009, 2007 and 2000, and flooding of lesser extent in other years as well…


Artistic Response to Natural Disasters: The Case of New Orleans

Alongside the ruins of asymmetrical warfare, we are now living in an era of unimaginable natural destruction. The irreversible effect of climate change, hurricanes, large scale earthquakes and tsunamis haunt our social psyche and capture our imagination. The volatile occurrences and intensified as governments are unable to sufficiently handle the physical and emotional aftershocks of such catastrophe. In turn, the media transform the state’s failure into a spectacle. Only after the media extravaganza settles down and the workers leave, do clean-up and reconstruction begin. The artist, designers and social scientist star to employ visual and spatial strategic to make sense of what really happened….


How Art and Design makes us more disaster resilient

Most people will interact with art and design in some shape or form every day. Knowingly or not, art and design shape our lives much more than we might think. John Berger, in his influential book, Ways of Seeing, confirms our visual navigation of the world as a central component of today’s contemporary landscape, underlining the central role of art and design in our lives. What inspires creative practitioners is what inspires us all to do things to make our lives better. Artists and designers are great at doing something most of us can’t. Creating an art or design practice that captures our emotional and intellectual lives and taps deep into our value and belief systems. We can appreciate works of art partly because they resonate with our inner beings; they allow us to make meaning of things, that we often lack the words, or any other means for that matter, to express…

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