Picturesque (2020), Credit: Benjamin Mehigan

Benjamin Mehigan



A Golden State

Confronting the Definition and Mediatization of ‘Extreme’ Climatic Events in California

This thesis proposes to confront the relationship between the climate and the image. In a global trajectory in which catastrophic weather events and the production and consumption of images are simultaneously increasing, there are growing gaps in climate discourse regarding how we define, comprehend and visualise extreme climatic events when those extremes are becoming more common. The research is situated in California, a state which has seen its climatic breakdown of wildfires, floods and droughts accelerated by a network of insufficient relationships between the landscape and its inhabitants. The thesis by-project will leverage the documentary capacities of the built environment to challenge the dangerous tropes of existing disaster imagery and provide a new conceptual framework for defining the extreme weather event. In the dissemination of these images the project is to generate evidence by which to influence broader and more accessible policy discussions around the disaster ecology that are less technocratic and more vibrant.


Benjamin Mehigan is a designer and researcher based in London. He graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture (2016) and the Royal College of Art (2020) and is to continue his research as a PhD candidate in Architecture at the RCA. Benjamin is currently a researcher at the School of Architecture having previously worked as a spatial designer for museums, festivals and immersive experiences.

Royal College of Art - MA Architecture Head of Programme Award (2020)
Royal College of Art - Drawing/Image Award (2020)

Betts Project, London - Not only, but also (2020)
A83, New York - Working Remotely (2020)
Sluice Gallery, London - Lost in Location (2019)
Sir Johnny Ive - Singular, Optimistic and New (2020) - A curated collection of particular bodies of work that “believe[d] to be regard- ed as significant in the future”.

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Ines Weizman