The Lexicon of Marvels and Catastrophes

26 January 2019

Seminar and workshop

The Lexicon of Marvels and Catastrophes provides a safe space to gather, understand and catalog the things we might need to have on hand in the not too distant future.

THE LEXICON OF MARVELS AND CATASTROPHES is a joint production between R-Lab RIA and Fargfabriken and is meant to bring together visual artists, architects, designers and other experts with people committed to exploring the kind of surprises we can expect if and when the unpredictable happens. Not a guide to disaster survival, but a manual for creativity and poetry in the face of uncertain odds.


14:00 Marvels and Catastropes; Introduction by Peter Lang
14:15 Marvels and Catastropes team presents the Lexicon
14:45 Public Exchange of Things and Ideas
15:30 Marvels and Catastropes team builds Lexicon

What is Marvels and Catastrophes?
Disasters expose human helplessness in confronting the full force of nature, but these tragic events can also bring out the best in human compassion and collective action. Marvels and Catastrophes moves through historic and contemporary landscapes, reflects on societies past and present and engages with the people who are or will be most affected by the forces of nature, and climatic reversals.

How does the afternoon workshop work?
you are kindly asked to bring with you– objects, things or ideas that you want to take with you into the ever changing present! The R-Lab group will sort out your stuff and categorise, document and then will arrange it with all the other creations.

What does this all have to to do with the ever changing present?
we hope to create a real-time live Lexicon on Marvels and Disasters that will grow bigger and bigger with each successive event. and the R-Lab team hopes to understand how your things fit together with other peoples’ things, whether they can coexist with each other, cooperate with each or otherwise cancel each other out.

What kinds of objects, things or ideas are you thinking we should bring with us?
We imagine you might already have something perfect in your living room or closet. An amulet to keep away evil spirits, a horse-shoe to bring good luck, a flashlight that works on human power, a chunk of clay you want to mould, or maybe an idea you have that you would want to make with the help of the R-Lab team.

What do i personally get out of all this?
It’s a chance to share something you have had in your possession for some time, or maybe an idea sitting in your head. when you introduce it into our Lexicon-o-sphere, something magical will happen. when you bring it back home with you it might be the start of something new and life changing.

THE LEXICON OF MARVELS AND CATASTROPHES is the second public project run by R-Lab in a series that began with the program THE ART OF DISASTER at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in October 2018. MARVELS AND CATASTROPHES is a production of R-Lab, an advanced post-graduate educational program based at Kungliga Konsthögskolan (the Royal Institute of Art) Stockholm. This year’s project focuses on human ingenuity when confronting natural disasters, unpredictable climatic events, and human-made calamities.

R-Lab is an ongoing critical research platform directed by Peter Lang focusing on architecture, design, visual arts and urban culture for the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm.

In collaboration with

The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm

Marvels and Catastrophes, R-Lab