Conflict Shorelines

Colonization As Climate Change In The Negev Desert

Eyal Weizman

The village of al-‘Araqib has been destroyed and rebuilt more than seventy times in the ongoing “battle over the Negev,” an Israeli state campaign to uproot the Palestinian Bedouins from the northern threshold of the desert. Unlike other frontiers fought over during the Israel-Palestine conflict, this one is not demarcated by fences and walls but by shifting climatic conditions. The threshold of the desert advances and recedes in response to colonization, cultivation, displacement, urbanization, and, most recently, climate change. In his response to Sheikh’s “Desert Bloom” series (part of Sheikh’s The Erasure Trilogy, published by Steidl), Eyal Weizman’s essay incorporates historical aerial photographs, contemporary remote sensing data, state plans, court testimonies, and nineteenth-century travelers’ accounts, exploring the Negev’s threshold as a “shoreline” along which climate change and political conflict are deeply and dangerously entangled.

Published by Steidl

June 2015, English
Hardback, 96 pages


The Conflict Shoreline makes brilliant use of aerial and other photographs to trace the settler-colonial origins of the practices that made climate into a political tool in the hands of Zionists seeking to displace Bedouin tribes from their original homes in the land of Israel. There is much to learn from this book about ‘climate change’ as a profoundly colonial project.” Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

In association with Cabinet Books, Brooklyn


Press Reviews




The Architecture of Public Truth


The Financial Times Architecture Book of the Year 2014

Edited by Forensic Architecture

With contributions by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nabil Ahmed, Maayan Amir, Hisham Ashkar & Emily Dische-Becker, Ryan Bishop, Jacob Burns, Howard Caygill, Gabriel Cuéllar, Eitan Diamond, DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency), Anselm Franke, Grupa Spomenik, Ayesha Hameed, Charles Heller, Helene Kazan, Thomas Keenan, Steffen Krämer, Adrian Lahoud, Armin Linke, Jonathan Littell, Modelling Kivalina, Model Court, Working Group Four Faces of Omarska, Gerald Nestler, Godofredo Pereira, Nicola Perugini, Alessandro Petti, Lorenzo Pezzani, Cesare P. Romano, Susan Schuppli, Francesco Sebregondi, Michael Sfard, Shela Sheikh, SITU Research, Caroline Sturdy Colls, John Palmesino & Ann Sofi Ronnskog / Territorial Agency, Paulo Tavares, Füsun Türetken, Robert Jan van Pelt, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss / NAO, Eyal Weizman, Ines Weizman, Chris Woods.

Published by Sternberg Press
Co-published by Forensic Architecture
Design by Zak Group

March 2014, English
Softcover with dust jacket, 744 pages

£23.50 / €28.00 / $32.50

Selected by the Financial Times as one of the Best Architecture & Design Books in 2014.

“This dense, provocative book proposes architecture as evidence, advocating the use of built and virtual space as a field of study in the struggle against violations of human rights. It spans the bombings in Gaza, drone strikes and the sinking of refugee boats”.

Edwin Heathcote — Finacial Times    

Forensics originated from the term “forensis” which is Latin for “pertaining to the forum.” The Roman forum was a multidimensional space of negotiation and truth-finding in which humans as well as objects participated in politics, law, and the economy. With the advent of modernity, forensics shifted to refer exclusively to the courts of law and to the use of medicine, and today as a science in service to the law. The present use of forensics, along with its popular representations have become increasingly central to the modes by which states police and govern their subjects.

By returning to forensis this book seeks to unlock forensics’ original potential as a political practice and reorient it. Inverting the direction of the forensic gaze it designates a field of action in which individuals and organizations detect and confront state violations.

The condition of forensis is one in which new technologies for mediating the “testimony” of material objects—bones, ruins, toxic substances, landscapes, and the contemporary medias in which they are captured and represented—are mobilized in order to engage with struggles for justice, systemic violence, and environmental transformations across the frontiers of contemporary conflict.

This book presents the work of the architects, artists, filmmakers, lawyers, and theorists who participated directly in the “Forensic Architecture” project in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London, as well as the work of associates and guests. It includes forensic investigations undertaken by the project and its collaborators aimed at producing new kinds of evidence for use by international prosecutorial teams, political organizations, NGOs, and the UN. It also brings together research and essays that situate contemporary forensic practices within broader political, historical, and aesthetic discourse.

Selected spreads from "FORENSIS: The Architecture of Public Truth"



The Least of All Possible Evils

Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza

Eyal Weizman

This book deals with contemporary forms of state violence that are structured by a similar logic of calculations and managed by an assortment of mechanisms of moderation. Humanitarianism, human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) when integrated into state or military practice, combine to provide the frame and the formulas within which these calculations are currently undertaken. A precise number of dead civilians could thus be set as an upper threshold for “proportional” military bombing missions; the size of fields and tonnage of their produce could thus be calculated against security necessities to moderate the design of territorial infringements; the supply of electric current, industrial diesel, and foodstuff – calculated and calibrated at their minimum possible megawatts, litters and calories – could thus be used to govern a population by keeping it on the threshold of life. The condition of incessant calculations in the collusions of humanitarian, human rights and humanitarian law with the logic of state violence is what this book refers to as the humanitarian present.

Published by Verso Books

April 2012, English
Hardback, 208 pages


Publishers Notes:
Groundbreaking exploration of the philosophy underpinning Western humanitarian intervention. The principle of the “lesser evil” — the acceptability of pursuing one exceptional course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice — has long been a cornerstone of Western ethical philosophy. From its roots in classical ethics and Christian theology, to Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the work of the Jewish Councils during the Nazi regime, Weizman explores its development in three key transformations of the problem: the defining intervention of Médecins Sans Frontières in mid-1980s Ethiopia; the separation wall in Israel-Palestine; and international and human rights law in Bosnia, Gaza and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of new research, Weizman charts the latest manifestation of this age-old idea. In doing so he shows how military and political intervention acquired a new “humanitarian” acceptability and legality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.




Mengele’s Skull

The Advent of Forensic Aesthetics

Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman

In 1985, the body of Josef Mengele, one of the last Nazi war criminals still at large, was unearthed in Brazil. The ensuing process of identifying the bones in question opened up what can now be seen as a third narrative in war crime investigations—not that of the document or the witness but rather the birth of aforensic approach to understanding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In the period coinciding with the discovery of Mengele’s skeleton, scientists began to appear in human rights cases as expert witnesses, called to interpret and speak on behalf of things—often bones and human remains. But the aesthetic, political, and ethical complications that emerge with the introduction of the thing in war crimes trials indicate that this innovation is not simply one in which the solid object provides a stable and fixed alternative to human uncertainties, ambiguities, and anxieties.

The complexities associated with testimony—that of the subject—are echoed in the presentation of the object. Human remains are the kind of things from which the trace of the subject cannot be fully removed. Their appearance and presentation in the courts of law and public opinion has in fact blurred something of the distinction between objects and subjects, evidence and testimony.

Published by Sternberg Press
Co-published with Portikus, Frankfurt am Main
Design by Zak Group

2012, English
Softcover, 88 pages



Forensic Architecture

Notes from Fields and Forums

Eyal Weizman

This notebook is a philosophical and cultural-critical examination of Israel’s policy of occupation. The architect Eyal Weizman uses the term “forensic,” derived from the Latin forensis, “forum,” to reconstruct the history of attacks on and violations of buildings. Drawing from the fields of judicial medicine and psychiatry, “Forensic Architecture” serves in revisiting damaged Palestinian houses and ruins. Weizman, who is a member of the collective Decolonizing Architecture,founded in 2007, describes Forensic Architecture as “the archaeology of the very recent past” and “a form of assembling for the future.” Forensic Aesthetics mirror relationships and logics of action, objective and subjective probabilities; what is needed is an interpreter who addresses the public in the name of a destroyed home.

Published by Hatje Cantz
Series dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken

2012, German, English
Softcover, 44 pages