Counter Investigations

Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

London, 7 March – 13 May 2018

Counter Investigations is a survey exhibition of the work of Forensic Architecture.

‘Forensic Architecture’ is not only the name of the agency but a form of investigative practice that traverses architectural, journalistic, legal and political fields, and moves from theoretical examination to practical application.

The work of Forensic Architecture has responded to the widespread increase in availability of digital recording equipment, satellite imaging and remote sensing technology, alongside platforms for data sharing. While such developments have contributed to the complexity of forms of conflict and control, they have also enabled new means of monitoring. Grounded in the use of architecture as an ‘analytic device’, Forensic Architecture’s investigations employ spatial and material analysis, mapping and reconstruction, and extend outwards to overlay elements of witness testimony and the cumulative forms of visual documentation enabled by contemporary media.

Counter Investigations presents a selection of recent and new investigations by Forensic Architecture. These address cases including the racist murder of a man in Kassel, Germany by a member of a far-right group, and instances of deferred responsibility by state agencies that have contributed to the deaths of migrants at sea in the Mediterranean. As historically contextualised interrogations of contemporary social and political processes, these investigations put forward a form of ‘counter-forensics’. They serve as sites for the pursuit of public accountability through scientific and aesthetic means, in opposition to the monopolisation of narratives around events by state agencies.

The individual investigations presented function as anchors for public events, workshops and discussions, with the exhibition as the physical infrastructure for the curriculum of a short course in forensic architecture.

Supported by The Forensic Architecture Exhibition Supporters Circle and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Installation photography © Mark Blower

Exhibition Team

Director of Forensic Architecture:
Eyal Weizman

Researcher in Charge:
Christina Varvia

Curator:
Richard Birkett

Forensic Architecture Exhibition Team:
Ariel Caine
Franc Camps Febrer
Stefan Laxness
Stefanos Levidis
Nicholas Masterton
Samaneh Moafi
Sarah Nankivell
Elena Paca
Robert Preuss
Grace Quah
Theo Resnikoff
Simone Rowat
Nathan Su
Bob Trafford
William Winfield

Exhibition Graphics together with:
Wayne Daly & Claire Lyon, Matthew Chrislip

Press

Forensics helps widen architecture’s mission | New York Times, 6 April 2018

Forensic Architecture | The World Today with Tariq Ali, 6 April 2018

The whole truth and nothing but the truth | Elephant Magazine, 14 March 2018

Architecture helps hold the guilty to account | RIBA Journal, 13 March 2018

In the aftermath of violence, Forensic Architecture reconstructs the truth | Metropolis, 8 March 2018

Buildings that can turn detective in uncovering the truth | Evening Standard, 7 March 2018

Forensic Architecture – from rubble and ruins to justice | Financial Times, 6 March 2018

Forensic Architecture: where art meets activism | BBC Newsnight, 6 March 2018

A forensic examination | Goldsmiths News, 6 March 2018

Challenging Fake News with Aesthetics | GARAGE Magazine, 26 February 2018

Architecture as forensic evidence in global crimes against humanity | Archinect, 26 February 2018

Forensic Architecture: The detail behind the devilry | The Guardian, 25 February 2018

Archaeology of the Present: Memory, Media, Matter

Archaeology of the Present: Memory, Media, Matter

White Box, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany

16 February – 1 December 2018

In the exhibition, Archeology of the Present: Memory, Media, Matter, Forensic Architecture presents a show developed specially for Zeppelin University. Three FA works are presented, which exemplify the methodologies of the collective and each align with one the three terms: ‘memory’, ‘media’, ‘matter’. The first, ‘memory’, traces the course of a US drone strike in October 2010 in Mir Ali, Pakistan. Under the term ‘media’, FA has collected photographs, satellite images, media reports and amateur films in order to reconstruct the buildings and events of a US air strike from March 2017, which targed the al-Jinah Mosque in Syria. The third example, under the term ‘matter’, is the ongoing Ground Truth project, which documents Bedouin inhabitants in the Negev/Naqab Desert by reconciling historical aerial photographs with recent innovations in photogrammetry and aerial imaging. By juxtaposing these images, FA shows that the desert – contrary to official Israeli statements – was inhabited by Bedouins well before the state of Israel was formed in 1948.

 

The exhibition project is supported by GLS Treuhand eV and the Fränkel Foundation.

Installation views © Karen van den Berg

Beautiful New Worlds

Beautiful New Worlds:

Virtual realities in contemporary art

Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany

11 November 2017 – 8 April 2018

The exhibition addresses the recent developments in image technology and explores how they create a new entanglement of virtual and real spaces. A particular emphasis is placed on the socio-political dimension of virtual technologies. In a tension between illusion and critical distance, different positions examine their application highlighted in forensics, the porn industry, and modern warfare, for control over virtual space is also always connected to the control over real space. Virtuality and reality are thus tightly interwoven with one another.

The exhibition herein reflects different varieties of virtuality. Together with Berlin’s Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik, an exhibition circuit has been developed that makes the entanglement of virtual and real spaces perceptible for the audience through bodily experience. The scope of virtuality herein encompasses simulations, in which the real world environment is being reproduced artificially, 3D videos and virtual reality spaces that create an all‐encompassing pictorial illusory space.

Included in this exhibition was Forensic Architecture’s Saydnaya project.

Installation view: Beautiful New Worlds, Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, 2017 © Zeppelin Museum, Photo: Tretter

Affect Me

Affect Me: Social Media Images in Art

KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation, Düsseldorf, 11 November 2017 – 10 March 2018

Affect Me: Social Media Images in Art presents works from nine international artistic positions that refer to the new phenomena of social media imagery and select particular pictorial material that draws its energy from the context of global political conflicts and civil-social protest on the net. Their work reflects the usage and the semantics of these images as well as considering their aesthetic qualities. Sometimes, they allow us to delve deep into the places and events of our world in upheaval. Sometimes, the artists take a more distanced view. They elucidate the mobilising power of the images and demonstrate how these images create facts and thereby operate along the porous border between reality and fiction.

Included in this exhibition was Forensic Architecture’s Air Strike Atimah project and the corresponding work from our Bomb Cloud Atlas series.

This exhibition is a cooperation of KAI 10 | Arthena  Foundation, Düsseldorf and the Collaborative Research Center 1171 Affective Societies at Freie Universität Berlin.

Installation views: Affect Me: Social Media Images in Art – KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation 2017 – Photo © Alexandra Höner

Fruit of Sleep

Fruit of Sleep

Sharjah Biennial 13 Tamawuj: Act II

Beirut, 14 October – 31 December 2017

 

Act II is the concluding exhibitions and performance programme of Sharjah Biennial 13. In this final chapter of the Biennial, curator Reem Fadda takes the idea of dormancy, from sleep to digestion, and looks at an embodied experience in the evolution of a language of art that beckons for more. In her exhibition Fruit of Sleep, artists delve into the imaginative, harnessing the aesthetic, not neglecting the contemplative, but also using their art to respond to the urgencies and needs of the social.

Forensic Architecture loaned our Ground Truth project as part of this exhibition.

Other participants: Tamara Barrage, Ali Cherri, Khalil El Ghrib, Haitham Ennasr, Rami Farook, Claire Fontaine, Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti, Emily Jacir, Tushar Joag, Dina Khouri, Los Carpinteros, Sigil, Praneet Soi, SUPERFLEX and Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.

Images of the exhibition courtesy of Ashkal Alwan, photography by Marco Pinarelli and Marwan Tahtah

Change the System

Change the System

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 14 October 2017 – 14 January 2018

In the design world, there is a growing focus on issues related to scarcity, sustainability of the ecosystem, conflict and social inequality. Today’s designers visualise the changes, generate insight into situations, develop new concepts and analyze them critically. This exhibition is about the power of creative minds to drive change, which is needed more than ever to tackle global issues and threats. Showcasing more than 50 designers, Change the System addresses three significant subjects that are putting our liveable society under pressure: scarcity, conflict and harmony.

Forensic Architecture exhibited our Rafah: Black Friday project as part of this exhibition.

 

Forensic Architecture: Hacia Una Estética Investigativa

Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetics

Forensic Architecture: Hacia Una Estética Investigativa

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)

Mexico City, 9 September – 30 December 2017


Images courtesy of MUAC. Photographer: Oliver Santana

This exhibition presents the work of the architects, artists, filmmakers, investigative journalists, and collaborators who make up the Forensic Architecture agency at Goldsmiths, University of London. Established in 2010, we use architecture as an investigative tool, primarily for the production and presentation of spatial evidence in the context of armed conflict and political struggles. Our evidence has been presented in international courts, truth commissions, human and environmental forums, and widely in the media. This exhibition arrives at a time of extreme escalation in the practice of state denial and propaganda. While exploring the development and transformation of the investigative practice that bears its name, the exhibition challenges us to consider how contemporary aesthetic practices and media technologies can be geared up to engage this reality of so-called post-truth.

The exhibition is organized into three parts. The first part opens the exhibition with Forensic Architecture’s investigation of the enforced disappearance of the 43 students from the Escuela Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos de Ayotzinapa, in Iguala, Guerrero, on 26–27 September 2014. Commissioned by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) and the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh), the investigation maps the different narratives of perpetrators and victims, as well as attempts at the interruption of violence in relation to one of the most tragic events in the recent Mexican history.

The second and third parts of the show feature a detailed elaboration of a selection of recent cases undertaken by Forensic Architecture and its collaborators and their research on the relation between human violence and the destruction of the environment. The perimeter wall, encircling the second and third parts of the exhibition, has been conceived of as an extended essay that unpacks the theoretical and historical framework developed by Forensic Architecture and the kind of methodological reflection on what a new investigative aesthetics demands of us today.

Exhibition co-produced by MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and MUAC, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City.

Exhibition Team

Director of Forensic Architecture:
Eyal Weizman

Curator:
Rosario Guiraldes

Conceptualisation:
Anselm Franke, Rosario Guiraldes, Christina Varvia, Eyal Weizman

Graphic Design:
Other Means

Exhibition Team:
Ariel Caine, Rosario Guiraldes, Samaneh Moafi, Hana Rizvanolli, Christina Varvia


Forensic Architecture Team

  • Yamen Albadin
  • Nick Axel
  • Reiner Beelitz
  • Jacob Burns
  • Ariel Caine
  • Franc Camps- Febrer
  • George Clipp
  • Nichola Czyz
  • Omar Ferwati
  • Blake Fisher
  • Pierre-Francois Gerard
  • Rosario Guiraldes
  • Hania Halabi
  • Samir Harb
  • Zahra Hussain
  • Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss
  • Steffen Krämer
  • Stefan Laxness
  • Stefanos Levidis
  • Nicholas Masterton
  • Jason Men
  • Samaneh Moafi
  • Shourideh C. Molavi
  • Sarah Nankivell
  • Dorette Panagiotopoulou
  • Hana Rizvanolli
  • Andrea Rota
  • Simone Rowat
  • Nestor Rubio
  • Susan Schuppli (cooordinator)
  • Francesco Sebregondi (coordinator)
  • Camila E. Sotomayor
  • Ana Naomi de Sousa
  • Gustav A. Toftgaard
  • Vere Van Gool
  • Christina Varvia (coordinator)
  • Nadia Mendez
  • Ruben Irving Huerta Zapien
  • Theo Resnikoff
  • Andrea Rota

Contributors

  • Lawrence Abu-Hamdan
  • Marim abu Mad’im
  • Nabil Ahmed
  • Salim al-Tūri
  • Giulia Bruno
  • Ariel Caine
  • Charles Heller & Lorenzo Pezzani
  • Hagit Kaisar
  • Thomas Keenan
  • Jan Kiesswetter
  • Giuseppe Lelasi
  • Armin Linke
  • Hannah Martin
  • Godofredo Pereira
  • Shela Sheikh
  • Alina Schmuch
  • Susan Schuppli
  • Paulo Tavares
  • Ines Weizman
  • Oren Ziv

Collaborators

  • A Satellite Studio
  • Activestills
  • Umar al-Ghubari / Zochrot
  • Aziz al-Turi
  • Sayakh
  • al-Turi / Al Araqib village
  • Nouri al-Uqbi
  • Amnesty International
  • B’Tselem
  • Eduardo L. Cadava
  • Edmund Clark
  • Chris Cobb-Smith
  • Mauricio Corbalan y Pio Torroja / m7red
  • DCI-Palestine
  • Debbie Farber
  • Baltasar Garzón and Manuel Vergaras / FIBGAR
  • Gaza’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing
  • Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group)
  • Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (HKW)
  • Hagit Keysar / Public Lab
  • Kent Klich
  • Sabine Llewellyn
  • MA in Forensic Architecture / Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
  • Nuriya Oswald and Mohammed
  • Abdullah / Al Mezan
  • Rossana Padeletti
  • Princeton University
  • Public Minister of Brazil
  • Situ Research
  • Alice Ross
  • ScanLAB Projects
  • Emily Schaeffer / Michael Sfard Law Office
  • Andreas Schüller / European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
  • Jack Serle / The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ)
  • Michael Sfard
  • Ana Naomi de Sousa
  • Caroline Sturdy Colls
  • UN Special Rapporteur for Counter Terrorism (UNSRCT)
  • Jamon Van Den Hoek
  • Robert Jan van Pelt
  • Laure Vermeersch
  • Watch the Med
  • Chris Woods / Airwars
  • Khaled Abdulwahed
  • Cem Kayan
  • Vanina Vignal
  • Sebastian Bodirsky
  • Frank Bubenwer
  • Gozen Atila
  • Cordula Hamschmidt
  • Grant Waters / Anderson Acoustics
  • Salvador Navarro- Martinez / Imperial College
  • Natascha Sadr Haghighian
  • Fritz Laszlo Weber / Citizen Tribunal “Unravelling the NSU Complex”
  • Ayse Gulec / Documenta 14, Centro Prodh, EAAF

Funders

  • European Research Council (ERC)
  • Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London

 

Resisting Images

Resisting Images: How to resist, with and against, images?

Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie 2017: Farewell Photography

Heidelberg, 9 September – 5 November 2017

Resisting Images explores the contentious presence of the photographic image within the political sphere. As the title of this section suggests, images can serve both as a means of resistance and a mode of control to resist against. Photographs can elicit sympathy and indignation and stir into action and revolt, but they can also affirm prejudice and render viewers immutable, distant and passive. The artworks and artefacts in the exhibition address this tension, questioning prevalent forms of political representation and articulating modes of opposition, with and against images.

Forensic Architecture exhibited our MSF-Supported Hospital project as part of this exhibition.

Curated by Boaz Levin

Other participants: Willem de Rooij, Richard Frater, LaToya Ruby Frazier, John Heartfield, Nikita Kadan, Merle Kröger und Philip Scheffner, Fred Lonidier, Naeem Mohaiemen, belit sag, D.H. Saur, Mark Soo, Klaus Staek, Oraib Toukan

Photo © Andreas Langfeld

In the Vestibule with Forensic Architecture

In the Vestibule with Forensic Architecture

Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University

Montreal, 19 June – 11 August 2017

Curated by Michèle Thériault

Two Forensic Architecture investigations, Nakba Day Killings and The Left-to-Die Boat Case, are exhibited as part of the In the Vestibule series.

“The strategies and practices of Forensic Architecture do indeed record facts and frame them with the greatest precision through the analysis they are subjected to, but they are everything but ‘dry’ because of their embeddedness in the political terrain in which they are located and the difficulty to bring them to the surface. The fragile nature of their status and their conditionality communicate the complicated relationship between fact and truth. This complication brings the viewer/reader of FA’s investigations into the larger arena of the social and political relations of power, a highly unstable field. Moreover, affect plays an important role in their particular construction of the documentary, for as Weizman underlines, the desire to transform the way things are is at the heart of their project and this drive for change is not only achieved by exploiting material sensitivity but by a sensitivity to the materiality of politics and the ability to feel pain.”

From States of the Cause, an essay by the exhibition’s curator, Michèle Thériault.

Photos: Paul Litherland / Studio Lux. Courtesy of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Contributors

  • Eyal Weizman
  • Christina Varvia
  • Sarah Nankivell
  • Charles Heller
  • Lorenzo Pezzani
  • Nick Axel
  • Steffen Kraemer
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Jacob Burns
  • SITU Research
  • DCI-Palestine

77sqm_9:26min at documenta 14

77sqm_9:26min

documenta 14

Kassel, 10 June – 19 September 2017

The Parliament of Bodies, the Public Program of documenta 14, emerged from the experience of the so-called long summer of migration in Europe, which revealed the simultaneous failure not only of modern representative democratic institutions but also of ethical practices of hospitality.

As part of this program, The Society of Friends of Halit presented documentation of their investigation, research, and activism into the murder of twenty-one-year-old Halit Yozgat on 6 April 2006 in a family-operated internet cafe in Kassel, Germany. Halit became the ninth victim in a string of racially motivated murders of immigrants conducted by the Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (NSU, or National Socialist Underground). A Hessian secret service agent, Andreas Temme, was present during Halit’s murder but claimed that he neither heard the gunshots, noticed the sharp smell of gunpowder, nor saw Halit’s body behind the counter when he left. The Society of Friends of Halit situated the shots that killed Halit Yozgat within a long history of racist violence that is deeply rooted in German society. We used the term “NSU Complex” to describe this combination of neo-Nazi terror and institutional and structural racism.

The Society hosted a series of presentations and discussions during documenta 14 in Kassel specifically addressing the killing of Halit Yozgat and the presence of secret service agent Andreas Temme at the scene and time of the murder. The installation includes the three-channel video 77sqm_9:26min  and accompanying written report by Forensic Architecture at the Neue Neue Galerie (Neue Hauptpost).

Images of the exhibition © Mathias Voelzke

Forensic Architecture team

  • Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator)
  • Christina Varvia  (Project & Research Coordinator)
  • Stefanos Levidis
  • Omar Ferwati
  • Simone Rowat
  • Nicholas Masterton
  • Yamen Albadin
  • Ortrun Bargholz
  • Eeva Sarlin
  • Franc Camps-Febrer
  • Hana Rizvanolli
  • Sarah Nankivell
  • Chris Cobb Smith (Advisor)
  • Lawrence abu Hamdan (Advisor)

Collaborators