Catastrophe aims to shed light on social, political, and environmental catastrophes while highlighting the individuals and movements that are creatively responding to these issues. Our intent is to create a platform that allows people to openly share their emotional responses to catastrophes on all levels, whether they’re personal, external, or both. The role of the human response in the face of catastrophe is often silenced, misinterpreted, misappropriated, or left out of mainstream media altogether. Our projects focus on the personal catastrophes that we are all confronted by, thus functioning as an archive of our contributors’ human experience through the forms of written and visual testimonies. Such personal catastrophes capture a wide range of universal emotions and truths that often go unspoken: loss, grief, apathy, frustration, and an intersection thereof. We aim to heal these states of being by opening a safe space of creative inquiry to facilitate discourse about these topics.
Experiencing intimate crises can be very powerful in connecting with the external world and its more ungraspable catastrophes, ultimately forcing us beyond the sheltered perception of ourselves. We want our audience to be motivated to disrupt and relieve these issues, not only through discourse but also through the consummation of creative responses.
Our most recent project, Catastrophe Issue 01 was conceived as a tangible, immersive experience: as something that people can hold onto in a world where digital content is moving too quickly to digest. Because we are continually bombarded by words and images of disaster to the point of desensitization, the physical aspect of the print issue trumps this mass of visual pollution that can be extremely overwhelming, and often lacking representation of the voices that deserve to be heard.
Through the process of creating Issue 01 came a more demanding question: how can we generate hope within the face of seemingly endless catastrophes? We believe the documentation of our experience, the organization of a community, and the re-imagining of a future that we want to conceive reminds us that hope is not only a choice. It is an action.