Forensic Futures

Susan Schuppli

New media technologies create possibilities for generating alternative documentary practices, which in turn allow new modes of reimagining the future to emerge. While archives and their associated documentary practices are traditionally oriented towards the past and engage with systems of collecting, classifying, and retrieving historical documents and recordings, forensic futures is an attempt to produce future-oriented archives capable of anticipating incoming events. In many contexts, such as the West Bank in Palestine, the event of violence is a regular occurrence that involves repetitive patterns of behavior, played out by a familiar cast of characters (army and ultraorthodox settlers). Rather than engage in a documentary practice that is reactive, albeit activist, which responds to unfolding events on the ground or records the aftermath of such conflicts, forensic futures sets out to document the enabling conditions of violence, and offers an archive that may be called upon to testify in the future.

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