Technology is developed by mankind from its own knowledge of the material world, and it is inteded to serve human purposes. However, behind humans’ technological capability – and often illusion - of ruling on spaces, environments and resources, threats from the environment can go undiscovered. Fifty years ago, due to incomplete knowledge and wishful thinking, humans triggered the Vaiont disaster. It took 1,910 lives in four minutes. A potential, terrifying threat hidden in the configuration of local environment remained latent until it was set off by anthropic activities. Wrong perceptions and overconfidence caused the underestimation of danger. When disaster struck, after several warnings, it was impossible to avert its consequences. After the catastrophe, a complete reshaping of places went much beyond the reconstruction of spaces. The final outcome was that the scar in both landscape and communities’life became deeper. The research focuses on analyzing how the Vaiont area evolved before and after the 1963 disaster. Particular attention will be paid to demonstrating how “reification” was conditioned, in different times, by socially shared perceptions of environmental dangers, caused by human actions, either based on erroneous beliefs, or actual reasons. Historical documents and cartography are studied to understand the details of the evolution of landscape. Interviews to survivors aim to clarify personal views and shared ideas about such evolution from a first-hand perspective. A comparative study between raw historical information, published scientific works, news coverage and pieces of literature are also considered in order to define the terms of common "tradition" and "epos" about the facts.
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