La fabbrica dei terremoti 2017
Photographic imprints of human induced earthquakes

Collaboration with seismologist Francesco Mugnai, JRC, European Commission, Ispra, Italy

Sichuan Seism, China, 2008
Magnitude: 7,9 on Richter scale, Presumed cause: pressure of Zipingpu dam
Archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Rag paper, 50X50 cm,

Val Agri Seism, Italy
Magnitude: 2,2 on Richter scale, Presumed cause: liquid waste injection
Archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Rag paper, 50X50 cm

Lorca Seism, Spain
Magnitude: 5,1 On Richter Scale, Presumed Cause: Groundwater Extraction, Year: 2011
Archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Rag paper, 50X50 cm

Verden Seism, Germany
Magnitude: 2,5 On Richter Scale, Presumed Cause: Gas Extraction, Year: 2011
Archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Rag paper, 50X50 cm


Bolton Seism, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Magnitude: 1,7 On Richter Scale, Presumed Cause: Mining, Year: 1989
Archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Rag paper, 50X50 cm






As giants of a new mythology, our specie participates to all appearances in the formation of some earthquakes. Certain anthropic activities mingle with the earth seismic forces to the point of triggering earthquakes. Geologists postulate on the impact of four major strands possibly contributing to this phenomenon: the extraction of natural resources (coal mining or oil drilling), the storage of important volume of water in dams, the drilling and injection of liquid into wells (fracking or waste disposal) as well as nuclear test and explosions.

In La Fabbrica dei Terrimoti, we captured eleven imprints of these human induced seisms that shook the earth over the last decades. In the basement of the JRC earthquake simulator, we replayed at the surface of a miniature planet, a fragment of the seven hundred twenty known seisms partially or fully caused by human activity. At the surface of an earth of oceans, we triggered these earthquakes in the intent to grasp in the shadows of their seismic waves, the tremors of a world we have endangered, the pulse of the earth, which now imperils our lives.

These photographies thus invite to reflect on the collective experience we live in a time humanity has turned « equipotent to the world »*. Significant manifestation of mankind raised as a new a telluric force, induced earthquakes sharpen our awareness of the delicate balance which bounds human activities to the earth’s cycles2. Indeed, if this new geologic era has become our history, if it is the sign of mankind relative control and impact over his milieu of life, it also the sign of our weakness. A few decades ago, economists presented environmental disruption as externalities. If nature was seen as an essential component of our world, it remained distant from us. It was not considered as a serious limit to economical growth. Yet, the time we have entered jeopardize this distinction. Eco-geo-chemical processes have irrupted at the heart of the political scene and our everyday life. At the opposite of a Cartesian mastery of nature, these photographies magnify how we are intrinsically part of the global loops of the earth retroaction and its atmospheric, biological, geologic or oceanic cycles.

* Michel Serres, Le Contrat Naturel, p.40






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