Tracing the Margins of Indeterminacy

Title2: as part of Re + Cognize + Habilis
Context: in the context of Nakanojo Biennale
Location: at Sawatari Onsen Community Center
Place: Sawatari Onsen, Japan
Date: 2023
Context: [EN] [日本語]
Sawatari Onsen Community Center, 2023.

How do hazard maps, tools for defining and governing risk, inscribe themselves into the physical world they depict as well as the consciousness of the people inhabiting it?
Considering maps as castings of the territories they depict, traces of their casting molds can be deduced, which hint at deliberate design decisions and embedded power relations, emphasizing or precluding certain aspects. Directly consulting the mapped terrain may then reveal otherwise uncharted hazards at the intersection of local livelihoods and the global chains of extraction, production and distribution.

The Sawatari Onsen Community Center is located on the premises of Sawatari Shrine. Besides community activities, it is used as an assembly point in case of emergency. Due to its location on a steep slope, leading to a narrow river valley, the village of Sawatari Onsen has a history of weather-related calamities, of which the most devastating was probably the 1935 flood and mudflow, caused by typhoon-induced torrential rains.
The installation attempts to grasp different, partially conflicting perspectives on and sensitivities towards these location-specific risks. Historical damage maps of the flood of 1935 are juxtaposed with hazard maps of the area, assembled by different stakeholders, the municipality and insurance companies. An elaborate map compiled by the locals in a series of workshops that were held in the same location, gathers detailed information on site-specific hazards, based on their and their ancestor’s experiences.

Tracing the Margins of Indeterminacy, modified IKEA-shelves, tension rods, plastic bottles, folding tables available on-site, plastic sheet, tape, HD-video (7:52min).