What I find interesting about this image and about this project is that, as a recognition of the archive as a "toxic place" and more specifically as a pharmakon (in Derrida's sense of both toxin and cure), it has the potential to change, extend, or rather diversify the functions of the archive.
While at first light, it might appear to be a worthy goal of the archive to be fully encapsulating, representative, and comprehensive, the famous distinction between the map and the territory has shown how this futile effort ultimately defeats the very purpose of the archive as an intelligible space. That is, as a space of representation, the exclusion of information is a necessary precondition to the functioning of any archive. However, when these exclusions amount to the erasure of entire lifeworlds of the subaltern, they can also be rightfully described toxic, in that they yeild a representation of history that naturalizes and validates a white-supremacist culture that perpetuates inequalities in the present.
So how does this toxic attribute translate into the "curative" dimension of the pharmakon? Well, the historical archive is both toxic and curative in that it is simultaneously as metonymic of life in a historical era as it is of the epistemological biases and social prejudices that have survived to the present. To employ Jakobson's concepts of speech functions, the archive has a phatic function as a channel of information that opens up access to previous modes of life, but it also has a poetic function, whereby analysts can scrutinize the processes of selection and curation for indices of the more toxic dimensions of past and present structures of feeling. Thus, engaging in this sort of analysis can serve as the "talking cure" described by Freud, where the toxic attributes of the unconscious are brought to the surface in a way that makes them more intelligible and manageable.
The visualisation highlights that there are people/activists working to fight toxic pollution. I think the caption could reflect this better. It could also highlight (as previously mentioned) the fact that there is a gender power relation going on here between the female activist and the hyper-masculine polluting culture she is fighting against. For me, this is the message really conveyed by the visualisation.
It talks about the management of toxics and the ways in which they can be peripheralised and also let into the commons. Perhaps mentioning the river as part of the commons would be a good idea here?
It tells us that there are still many unknowns about how toxics affect the body and where they go. The body (as a site) is also largely unknown, and so the image and caption reveal a delicacy and wonder to the ways in which toxics operate, opening us to caring for bodies and seeing chemicals in a new light.
This visualisation implies a kind of discursive toxicity, where 'toxicity' is used metaphorically to indicate a dangerous or debilitating character. Its inclusion attempts to stretch understandings of 'toxic', and how the term can be used more broadly than it has been, to productively describe discourses and relationships.
This image informs understandings of the politics of toxics. It implies the enlivening of different kinds of political actions, which work at different scales and aim towards different outcomes. It suggests that the chemical toxification of waterbodies vitalises political activity and conflict, which might be productive of change.
This image gives us an insight into how climate change is approached by a group of people in India. It is a brief glimpse into the conjunction of traditional beliefs and practices, and contemporary challenges. Although toxicity is not a clear theme in the image nor the annotation, we might surmise that toxicities are dealt with in similar ways. We are left wondering, what actions are being taken alongside these practices, which might rise to the challenges of toxicity?
The ethnographer says the removal of the top soil is an effort to decontaminate the place. At the same time, the machines used damage the underground pipes. I would be curious to know more about how the latter contributes to a different form of toxicity perhaps that comes with flooding and draining of the fields?
This visualization and the caption elicits the complex terrain of toxicity in Fukushima. The ethnographer probes into the ways in which scientists understand and measure toxicity, as well as the way in which the definitions become specific to the place and terrain. It would be interesting to know more about what the significance of wild vs farmed plants is in understanding toxicity.
I feel that I may have answered this question in my first annotation. The image and its caption undermine the epistemological framework that we employ to understand toxicity, warfare, violence, and ecological destruction. How and why do we know what we think we know? What events have seemed insignificant, only to become catastrphically important in the future?