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

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

 

Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetics

Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetics

MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona)

Barcelona, 28 April – 15 October 2017

This exhibition presents the work of the architects, artists, filmmakers and investigative journalists who make up the Forensic Architecture agency at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as that of its collaborators and guests. Established in 2010, Forensic Architecture uses architectural analysis, models and animations as investigative tools, primarily for the production and presentation of spatial evidence in the context of armed conflict and political struggles. This evidence is presented in political and legal contexts, including international courts, truth commissions, and human and environmental forums.

Both ‘forensics’ and ‘architecture’ refer to well-established disciplinary frames. Brought together, they shift each other’s meaning, giving rise to a different mode of practice. While architecture adds an essential method of investigation, forensics demands that architects pay the closest attention to the materiality of the built environment and its media representation.

This exhibition spans part of the museum’s second floor. The one-hundred-metre-long back wall, traversing the entire exhibition across three galleries, has been conceived of as an extended essay that echoes the investigations included in the galleries, presenting the kind of theoretical and methodological reflection that contemporary investigative aesthetics demands today. The investigations are arranged according to scale, beginning with the human body and moving through rooms, buildings and cities to territories and oceans, from micro-analysis to the scale of the planet – the ultimate forensic object, which human-induced climate change has transformed into both a construction site and a ruin.

While exploring the development and transformation of the investigative practice that bears its name, the exhibition challenges us to consider how contemporary artistic practices and media technologies can be geared up to engage this reality of post-truth.

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

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Images: Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetics, 2017, exhibition view © Miquel Coll

Exhibition Team

Director of Forensic Architecture:
Eyal Weizman

Curator:
Rosario Güiraldes

Conceptualisation:
Eyal Weizman, Rosario Güiraldes, Anselm Franke, and Christina Varvia

Graphic Design:
Other Means


Forensic Architecture Team

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

Further Works By

  • Susan Schuppli
  • Lawrence abu Hamdan
  • Paulo Tavares
  • Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani
  • Hannah Martin
  • Hagit Kaisar
  • Ariel Caine
  • Nabil Ahmed
  • Harun Farocki
  • Giulia Bruno
  • Jan Kiesswetter
  • Giuseppe Lelasi
  • Armin Linke
  • Alina Schmuch
  • Thomas Keenan
  • Ines Weizman
  • Shela Sheikh
  • Marim abu Mad’im
  • Salim al-Tu¯ri
  • Oren Ziv
  • Gilles Peress
  • Richard Helmer
  • Yve Alain Bois
  • Godofredo Pereira

Collaborators

  • Jamon Van Den Hoek
  • Kent Klich
  • Rossana Padeletti
  • Sabine Llewellyn
  • Laure Vermeersch
  • Ana Naomi de Sousa
  • Eduardo L. Cadava
  • Chris Cobb-Smith
  • Situ Research
  • Amnesty International
  • Princeton University
  • MA in Forensic Architecture / Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Caroline Sturdy Colls
  • A Satellite Studio
  • Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group)
  • Xavante community of Wederã (Pimentel Barbosa)
  • Francisco Caminati and Wederã Media Lab
  • Debbie Farber
  • Umar al-Ghubari / Zochrot
  • Nouri al-Uqbi
  • Aziz al-Turi
  • Sayakh al-Turi / Al Araqib village
  • Hagit Keysar / Public Lab
  • Activestills
  • Chris Woods / Airwars
  • Nuriya Oswald and Mohammed Abdullah / Al Mezan
  • B’Tselem
  • Alice Ross
  • Jack Serle / Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ)
  • Edmund Clark
  • Andreas Schüller / European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
  • Michael Sfard
  • Emily Schaeffer / Michael Sfard Law Office
  • Mauricio Corbalan and Pio Torroja / M7red
  • Baltasar Garzon and Manuel Vergaras / FIBAR
  • Watch the Med
  • Doctors without Borders (MSF)
  • UN Special Rapporteur for Counter Terrorism (UNSRCT)
  • Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (HKW)
  • ScanLAB Projects
  • Gaza’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing
  • DCI-Palestine
  • Robert Jan van Pelt

Funders

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

Press

True Detective | Artforum (vol. 56, no. 2, p.77), October 2017

Meet the team investigating human rights violations through architecture | VICE News, 8 August 2017

Hallazgos fotográficos y arte forense en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona | The New York Times, 9 July 2017

SON[I]A #207: Eyal Weizman | Radio Web MACBA (RWM), 25 May 2017

Interview with Eyal Weizman (English and Spanish) | Informativos, 3 May 2017

 

Reporting From The Front

Reporting From The Front

La Biennale di Venezia 2016, Venice

28 May – 27 November 2016

“We would like the Biennale Architettura 2016 to offer a new point of view … Given the complexity and variety of challenges that architecture has to respond to, REPORTING FROM THE FRONT will be about listening to those that were able to gain some perspective and consequently are in the position to share some knowledge and experiences with those of us standing on the ground.” – Alejandro Aravena

In this exhibition, Forensic Architecture presents elements from four recent investigations. Undertaken at different scales, these cases extend from the micro-analysis of a single ruin from a drone strike in Miranshah, Pakistan, to an urban analysis of the city of Rafah in Gaza under Israeli attack; the death of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, to the environmental violence along the shifting climatic frontiers of desertification and deforestation.

While architecture adds an essential method of investigation, forensics demands of architects the closest attention to the materiality of the built environment and its media representations. It also challenges architectural analysis to be performed publicly and politically in the most antagonistic of forums.

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition, titled REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, is directed by Alejandro Aravena and organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Selected views of the exhibition: © Forensic Architecture

Contributors

  • Eyal Weizman
  • Christina Varvia
  • Paulo Tavares
  • Charles Heller
  • Lorenzo Pezzani
  • Samaneh Moafi
  • Hana Rizvanolli
  • Ariel Caine
  • Ana Naomi De Sousa
  • Susan Schuppli
  • Steffen Kramer
  • Francesco Sebregondi
  • Nick Axel
  • Jacob Burns
  • Blake Fisher
  • Reisner Beeliz
  • Samir Harb
  • Zahara Hussain
  • Shourideh Molavi
  • Jamon Van Der Hoek
  • Hania Halabi
  • Vere Van Gool
  • Camila Solomayor
  • Rosario Guiraldes
  • Mohammed Abdullah
  • Tom Tlalim
  • Giulia Bruno
  • Jan Klesswetter
  • Giuseppe Ileasi
  • Armin Linke
  • Alina Schmuch