• An Incomplete Atlas of Stones
    Elise Misao Hunchuck

Artist unknown, “Untitled” (People praying at the kaname-ishi rock, holding down a giant catfish and preventing it from moving and causing earthquakes.), 1855–56. Public domain. Photo: UBC Library Digitization Centre

This project challenges and interrogates ideas about landscapes of risk by developing and utilizing transdisciplinary research methods drawn from architecture and landscape architecture. An Incomplete Atlas of Stones finds, assembles, and disseminates multiple histories of the Japanese archipelago and its relation to geologic risk through a close reading of the memorial monuments, otherwise known as tsunami stones. The research examines how and what the tsunami stones of Japan are able to communicate across human generations and geological epochs; how they can and should play a critical role in the construction, planning, and mediation of Japan’s built form with its geology; and how disaster management and communication might be understood, regulated, and reimagined. Through the investigation one hundred sites of tsunami stone markers, this project develops alternative cartographies and models of knowledge and forecasting.

Elise Misao Hunchuck is a spatial researcher, editor, curator, writer, and educator. Based between Berlin and Milan, her transdisciplinary practice brings together architecture, landscape architecture, ecology, and media studies to research sites in Canada, Japan, China, and Ukraine. She documents, studies, and archives the co-constitutive relationships between plants, animals, and minerals by employing text, images, and cartographies. She is an editorial board member of Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape, Political Economy (2019–) and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (2022–). Her writing and editorial works have been published in The FunambulistFlash ArtFotografThe Architectural Review, MIT Press, Onassis Foundation, Spector Books, and Sternberg Press. Most recently, she coedited Electric Brine (Archive Books, 2021); Photography Off the Scale (Edinburgh University Press, 2021); and Operational Images (University of Minnesota Press, 2023). Forthcoming editorial titles in 2024 and 2025 include Scapegoat issues 14–15: Critical Zones (Scapegoat); The AI Anarchies School (Akademie der Künste, Berlin); Arctic Practices(Actar);Media+Environment journal; Radical Rituals Part 45°N 1°W – 45°N 35°E (Punch Books); and Living Surfaces (MIT Press). Forthcoming written contributions for 2024 are with Damaged Goods; The Architectural Review; Duke University Press; Whitechapel London and MIT Press; Bloomsbury; and the Minnesota University Press series “Art after Nature,” on the work and legacy of Robert Smithson. Hunchuck has been transmediale’s journal editor and festival program curator since 2021.