The End of Austin

an exploration of urban identity in the middle of Texas

The Austin Disaster

Use of the term “disaster” varies widely across Austin residents – ranging from calls for volunteers to aid those effected by flash flooding to Tweets of woe over traffic congestion and poorly attended live music events. Using these enunciations of civic “disaster” in Austin, a short guided tour is delivered through an electric megaphone using city maps, photos, and “salvaged” artifacts (performance documentation forthcoming).

This project raises questions by overlaying social media narratives with practices of conventional tourism. Who has the power to engage with disaster narratives? Who has the power to recall and enunciate tragedy? Is it people or our stories that have the power to destroy?

Eyewitness accounts of the events surrounding the most devastating natural and man-made disaster on American soil.

The Austin Disaster was screened at The University of Kentucky Dimensions of Political Ecologies Conference on February 28, 2014. For more information, see Robin’s website.


Robin McDowell is an MFA candidate in Design at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work probes conventional practices of urban placemaking through analysis of commercial typography in the American South and the rhetoric of tourism. Past and current projects can be found at robinmcdowell.com.

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2014 by in Art, Built Environment, disaster, tourism, traffic and tagged , , , , , , .
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