Anchalee Koyamaholds Taweewattana districk, Bangkok Thailand November 2011 (Photo by Gideon Mendel)

Disasters no longer the events, but the contexts of our lives?

I recently found this 4-minute film by Gideon Mendel on floods in Bangkok. It is a beautiful piece. What makes it so striking is that it shows vignettes of normal life amid a major flood. This is a powerful and troubling message: are “disasters” becoming just another part of everyday life? Are disasters no longer the events but the contexts of our lives?

LIVING WITH FLOODWATERS from Gideon Mendel’s “Drowning World” Exhibition

There is a lot of literature around the notion of “living with risk.” Risk is defined by the uncertainty of occurrence of an event (or uncertainty in its timing and/or intensity). But what happens when you remove the  uncertainty? We buy car insurance in case we get in an accident. But what if we know that we will get in exactly one accident every year? Many communities around the world are now being flooded every year. Does disaster then become a routine part of every day life?