Speaking with Spectres: Experimental Geography in Practice

Merle M Patchett, A Enigbokan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Terrible Karma: Reverberations of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was a mobile audio-visual installation exploring the global reverberations of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (in which 146 garment workers, mostly young immigrant women, were killed) on its 100th anniversary: 25 March 2011. The title – Terrible Karma – refers to both the title of a protest song sung by Cambodian female garment workers at a union rally in Phnom Penh 2010 and to the idea that events of the garment industry past continue to haunt the present: that injustice unresolved always comes back. The installation ‘took to the streets’ on 25 March 2011when the audio-visuals were projected out of a UHAUL
truck parked in downtown Manhattan locations associated with the events of the Triangle Fire. Terrible Karma arose out of our desire as ‘experimental geographers’ to mark the centenary of the Triangle factory fire while also exploring the constraints and conditions in which garment workers
continue to work, live and die. In this short essay we reflect on Terrible Karma’s making and mobilization, and the lessons it offers for others thinking of creating experimental geographies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-547
Journalcultural geographies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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