Art and disaster resilience: Perspectives from the visual and performing arts

Douglas Paton, Ioannis Michaloudis, E Pavavaljung, K Clark, Petra Buergelt, L Jang, G Kuo

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


Several contributions to this volume discuss the key role social and cultural processes play in the development and implementation of DRR processes. This chapter explores how the visual and performing (song) arts, prominent socio-cultural media for communication and engagement in all countries, can inform how resilience is conceptualized and enacted. The French mathematician René Thom introduced the catastrophe theory in the 1960’s. In this theory, small changes in certain parameters of a nonlinear system can cause equilibria to appear or disappear, or to change from attracting to repelling and vice versa, leading to large and sudden changes in the behavior of the system. On a larger scale, catastrophe theory reveals the existence of bifurcation points that can create deformation instead of formation, catastrophe instead of creation. These are thought-provoking points for the discipline of Visual Arts. The catastrophe stimulates for them creation or re-creation. An artist can hold a small globe of clay in their hand and make it take any form by pressing their thumbs upon it. Visual artists can change how elements of the world are perceived. Through the medium of their art they create new realities. Public exhibition of these new realities can influence and even transform how people think about and act towards the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisaster resilience
Subtitle of host publicationAn integrated approach
EditorsDouglas Paton, David Johnston
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherCharles C. Thomas Publisher Ltd
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780398091699
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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