Creative Response to Crisis

zones of emergency

Professor Ute Meta Bauer, along with lecturer Jegan Vincent de Paul, and their class (4.365/366 – “Zones of Emergency – Artistic Intervention – Creative Responses”), formed the Mobile Act Lab to investigate the potential of artistic intervention in contested spaces, conditions of conflict and crisis, and in times of extreme social and environmental catastrophe.  How could one investigate or intervene in such complex situations through critical reflection, creative agency and participatory action? Can artistic interventions transform, disrupt or subvert current environmental, urban, political and social conditions in critical ways? How can these “interventions” – especially if developed from afar – propose ideas, while at the same time respecting the local history and culture?

The class focuses on a case study of a small Japanese town, Minami Sanriku, located in the Miyagi Prefecture, which was heavily hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami. What kind of artistic responses could contribute to local initiatives and efforts to address the monumental devastation and loss? Student projects will critically examine principles of design, artistic practice and ethical responsibility with a special site-specific focus. They investigate a deeper understanding of the questions involved through inviting practitioners from different fields to share their experiences, through examining historical and contemporary examples, and through developing actual real-world hands on projects inspired by art and design.

This class is supported by a special grant provided by the D’Arbeloff Fund at MIT and collaborates with the Japan Workshop of Prof. Shun Kanda, MIT Department of Architecture.

The photographs was taken by ACT lecturer Jegan Vincent de Paul in town of Minami Sanriku within the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan four months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.