Accepted paper:

"Evanescent landscapes": crisis and creativity in post-catastrophic L'Aquila


Enrico Marcorè (University of Aberdeen)
Raffaele Gallo (Freie Universität Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

“Chronic uncertainty” has become a permanent condition in L’Aquila. In our joined presentation we will show, by means of photography and the comparison of case studies, the “evanescent landscapes” emerged from the earthquake and the local adaptive manners of coping with post-catastrophic uncertainty.

Paper long abstract:

Nowadays is increasingly evident that "chronic uncertainty" will be part of our common future on earth. This has been particularly clear in L'Aquila after the 2009 earthquake. Indeed the town recovery, as managed by local and national institutions, permitted the emergency period insecurity to become chronic trough the reconstruction process. If taken as an event that intersects people, society and the environment, the earthquake is able to show the constant mutation of this relation. Anthropology of Disaster extensively revealed that those transformations are good (opportunities) or bad (disasters) depending on the degree of local population preparedness and vulnerability. Thus, by considering the earthquake as a recurrent and cyclical event, our aim is to uncover the more intrinsic and historic human responsibilities that are at play in the post-catastrophic L'Aquila context. Our aim is also to highlight how human and non-human agencies intertwine by means of different powers and temporalities as co-producers of the post-catastrophic "evanescent landscapes". As such, through photography and by means of our reciprocal and compared case studies, in our joined presentation we will show the "extra-ordinary", unexpected and temporary landscapes emerged from the earthquake. Finally, we want to particularly emphasize the today's local adaptive manners of interpreting and coping with spatial post-disaster uncertainty. Therefore, the evanescent landscapes arisen from the earthquake could be read, on the one hand, as a way of traditional dwelling disruptions and, on the other hand, as a new embodied form of perceiving and acting in L'Aquila province.

panel Env01
Dwelling in an evanescent landscape: people's strategies to deal with chronical uncertainty