Suspended City: L’Aquila after the Earthquake of 2009 – Photographs by Michele Nastasi. February 7 - April 18, SA+P’s Wolk Gallery: On April 6, 2009, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the medieval city of L’Aquila in central Italy, destroying or damaging 80 percent of the historic center of the city. The center was cleared of debris and stabilized but rebuilding was stalled by a deep public divide over how the city should be reconstructed and ultimately used. Nearly four years after the earthquake, L’Aquila remains caught in a planning impasse.
Milan photographer Michele Nastasi began working in L’Aquila soon after the earthquake. His photographs record a cityscape of prosthesis: splints, casts and stays shoring-up and stabilizing centuries-old structures. These surgical interventions in the fabric of the city have been technologically successful even if the patient itself — L’Aquila — still shows no sign of life.
The exhibit was accompanied by a roundtable discussion among six L’Aquila experts from Italy and a "Talk Back" session featuring representatives from the city’s reconstruction team in discussion with MIT experts on geology, architecture and dispute resolution, exploring the obligations of scientists, city planners and policy makers to predict and plan for the impact of natural disasters on local communities.