Forensic Architecture is nominated for the 2018 Turner Prize

We are honoured to have been nominated for the 2018 Turner Prize. The nomination is for our participation in documenta14, and for our solo shows ‘Counter Investigations’ at the ICA, London, and ‘Towards an Investigative Aesthetic’ at MUAC, Mexico, and MACBA, Barcelona.

It is a pleasure and an honour to share this platform with our richly talented fellow nominees: Charlotte Prodger, Naeem Mohaiemen and Luke Willis Thompson.

At documenta14 we exhibited our investigation into the testimony of Andreas Temme, relating to the 2006 killing of Halit Yozgat by a neo-Nazi terror cell. We are proud to acknowledge our partnership with Initiativ 6. April and NSU Watch in challenging the ongoing institutional violence of the NSU Complex.

Our 2016 exhibition ‘Towards an Investigative Aesthetic’ set our work to date in the context of the history of forensic aesthetics as an evidentiary practice. We remain grateful for the support of MACBA and MUAC in helping us to tell that story.

Our ongoing exhibition ‘Counter Investigations’ at the ICA presents five foundational concepts of forensic architecture as an evidentiary practice, through a selection of our recent investigations. It has been a pleasure and an honour to share the results of our practice in our home city.

We were delighted and a little surprised to be nominated for the UK art world’s most prestigious honour, but take great pride in the jury’s recognition of our innovative methods of sourcing and visualising evidence relating to human rights abuses, and the exercise of our practice in courts of law as well as cultural forums.

Stefan Kalmár, Director of the ICA, said the following kind words about our nomination: “The ICA applauds the courageous decision of the Turner Prize jury to nominate Forensic Architecture for this year’s award. As a collective, Forensic Architecture’s practice combines aspects of journalism, architecture, animation, documentary filmmaking and human rights activism into an entirely new format which, for us, is simply the most innovative practice coming out of London and the UK in years. Like the Independent Group which was based, on and off, at the ICA throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, Forensic Architecture investigates the contemporary image economy and ideology. Their methodology radically expands the field of contemporary art.”

An exhibition of work by ourselves and our fellow nominees will be staged at Tate Britain from 25 September 2018 to 6 January 2019. We are delighted that BNP Paribas’s support for the Prize will help to open up access to the exhibition, offering free entry to everyone aged 25 or under for the first 25 days of the show. We would urge young people from across London and the UK to take advantage of this opportunity.

Ayotzinapa Case Launch

On 7 September 2017 at 11:00 (19:00 GMT), Forensic Architecture will present an interactive cartographic platform to help visualise the Ayotzinapa case, where 43 students were disappeared in Iguala, Mexico. This collaboration with Centro Prodh, Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense – EAAF and the MUAC Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, represents the first time this case has been comprehensively visualised.

Follow tomorrow’s press conference live on Facebook and Twitter

Eyal Weizman to deliver 18th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture

The 18th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture titled “Forensic Architecture: Space and Violence in Palestine and Beyond”, will be delivered by Professor Eyal Weizman, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths on Sunday 30th July 2017 at 6 p.m. at the BMICH in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Weizman’s talk will use the groundbreaking work of Forensic Architecture in places of conflict, such as Palestine, Pakistan and elsewhere to critically evaluate the politics and aesthetics of contemporary forms of spatial investigation.

The memorial lecture is organised each year by the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, an indigenous philanthropic organisation supporting community efforts to promote peace building, social justice and reconciliation. The annual lecture marks the anniversary of the death of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, which falls on 29 July, and celebrates his life and work by inviting scholars, writers, policy makers and activists to reflect on and engage with critical concepts of our time.

Read more on the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust website.

This event is free and open to all.

Kassel_6.April.2006: German Press Coverage

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The following is a list of German media coverage related to the Kassel_6.April.2006 investigation.
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Press reviews from 06.04.2017
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DPA/EPD
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Before 06.04.2017
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DPA before 06.04.2017
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documenta 14 (Athens)
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Press inquiries please contact info@forensic-architecture.org

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UN SRCT final drone strikes report and platform released

Research into devastating drone strikes hampered by government secrecy, United Nations told

  • Report investigates US and Israeli drone strikes
  • Interactive map of 30 drone strikes produced by researchers
  • Findings presented to United Nations Human Rights Council

The secrecy imposed by governments regarding drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan is hampering efforts to assess the impact on civilians, researchers from the Forensic Architecture project based at Goldsmiths, University of London and SITU Research in New York have found.

The work will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 11 March as part of the final report by UN Special Rapporteur for Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson.

The final report – which includes an interactive map of drone strikes across five countries – identified numerous factors that prevent investigations. These include the fact that documentation on site is often difficult as entry points are locked down and the use of mobile phones and cameras is frequently prohibited.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present a web-based platform, produced by the Forensic Architecture team in collaboration with SITU Research, marking the location of thirty drone strikes that make up his detailed report to the UN.

Initial findings were presented in October 2013 in New York, showing that a lack of government transparency is the single greatest obstacle to evaluating the civilian impact of drone strikes.

The UN report investigates US drones strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq; as well as Israeli strikes in Gaza, and draws on the expertise of the Forensic Architecture and SITU Research teams.

Professor Eyal Weizman, Principal Investigator on the Forensic Architecture project, said: “The forensic architecture methods we have developed are meant to generate evidence where there is little information available. Studying buildings hit by drones reveal much of the consequences of a strike. The work that we do is essential because states undertaking drone strikes, such as the US and Israel, attempt to hide their actions and even deny them outright.

“In order to hold such governments to account we need to demonstrate the devastating reality of such attacks on civilians directly hit and on entire communities living under drones.”

Since January 2013, the Forensic Architecture team has been working with Emmerson to provide architectural analysis into civilian casualties caused by drone strikes. The researchers cross referenced various types of media such as mobile phone videos, photographs, interviews, testimonies, computer models and satellite photographs to analyse the impact of drone strikes and produced a set of short videos detailing four attacks especially for this investigation.

These have been created from the perspectives of survivors and witnesses and describe the effects of these strikes on the ground, on architecture, and on the people within them. Emmerson will screen some of these videos with architectural analyses of three strikes in Pakistan and one in Gaza.

Among these is the digital reconstruction of attacks in: Datta Khel in 2011; a residential building in Mir Ali in 2010; a strike in Miranshah in 2012; and a reconstruction of an Israeli air attack that took place in Gaza. For access to these videos please see the Notes to editors.

Notes to editors:

For interviews or further information, contact Sam Gough, Press Officer at Goldsmiths (s.gough@gold.ac.uk or 0207 919 7970) or Bradley Samuels of SITU Research (brad@situresearch.com or +1 718 237-5795)

  • The online platform created by the Forensic Architecture in collaboration with Situ Research can be accessed here: http://unsrct-drones.com This is under embargo until midnight on Tuesday 11 March. You will need to log-in using:
    username: preview
    password: uavsrctAfter midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 11 March unsrct-drones.com will be available to the general public
  • A short demonstration video of the platform can be found here: http://vimeo.com/88203486 (password: uavsrct)
  • Forensic Architecture is a European Research Council project based at the Centre for Research Architecture, Department of Visual Cultures, at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • The research team from Forensic Architecture is as follows: Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator); Susan Schuppli (Senior Research Fellow, Project Coordinator); Jacob Burns (Researcher); Steffen Kraemer (Researcher, Film Editor); Reiner Beelitz (Architectural Modelling); Francesco Sebregondi (Researcher); and Chris Cobb-Smith (Research Advisor)
  • The drone strike visualisation project is being undertaken in collaboration with SITU Research, an architectural research practice based in New York City. For more information on SITU Research please visit www.situresearch.com
  • The SITU Research team is as follows: McKenna Cole; Akshay Mehra; Charles-Antoine Perrault; Bradley Samuels; and Xiaowei Wang
  • The work will be displayed at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin from 15 March: http://www.hkw.de/de/programm/projekte/2014/forensis/start_forensis.php

 

FA / SITU investigation into drone strikes informs report presented at UN

Copy of Goldsmiths’ press release:

Research into drone strikes by academics at Goldsmiths, University of London and Situ Research was presented at a press conference at the United Nations today (Friday 25 October).

An interactive map of drone strikes across seven countries and visualisations of three in Pakistan, produced by the Forensic Architecture team based at Goldsmiths, will form an integral part of a report to be presented by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson.

The report indicates that two thousand people living in Pakistan have been killed by drone strikes in the past decade. Of the 2,200 dead, 400 were civilians and an additional 200 victims were deemed ‘probable non-combatants’.

Forensic Architecture is a European Research Council project based in the Centre for Research Architecture, in the Department of Visual Cultures. The project analyses sites of contemporary violence and produces spatial evidence that is used by legal and political organisations. Their research sources and combines a wide range of materials in innovative new ways to provide a clearer picture of what happens before, during and after drone strikes.

The Forensic Architecture team have developed an interactive online platform that locates all 37 drone strikes investigated by Emmerson.

Professor Eyal Weizman, Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, at Goldsmiths, said: “The report has identified that the single greatest obstacle to an evaluation of the civilian impact of drone strikes is a lack of government transparency. This makes it extremely difficult to assess claims of precision targeting objectively. Architectural analysis is crucial to this investigation, because many drone strikes target buildings and some target built-up areas in cities and towns resulting in civilian casualties.

“As such, this makes the work that we do here at Forensic Architecture ever more pertinent. We piece together lots of different bits of information, in an attempt to provide more accurate and objective evidence that can hold governments to account, and help victims seek redress.”

Since January 2013, the team has been working with Emmerson to provide forensic architectural analysis for his UN inquiry into civilian casualties caused by three US drone strikes in Waziristan, a Federally Administered Tribal Area in Pakistan.

From this research, they mapped, modelled, and visually animated the aftermath of the three drone strikes, with an emphasis on the damage these strikes have caused on the ground.

Entry and exit from Waziristan, where the drone strikes occurred, is permitted only for residents and the military. Inside the region the use of electronic equipment, including mobile phones and cameras, is prohibited. This combination of circumstances often means that information about sensitive issues such as drone strikes is scarce.

Emmerson will be presenting his report to the UN General Assembly in New York tomorrow (Friday). The report investigates US drones strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia; as well as Israeli strikes in Gaza.


Notes to Editors
Images of the visualisations are available upon request.

The online platform created by the Forensic Architecture team can be viewed here.

The videos detailing the three cases can be found here.

Forensic Architecture is a European Research Council project based at the Centre for Research Architecture, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London.

The research team from Forensic Architecture is as follows: Eyal Weizman (Principal); Susan Schuppli (Senior Research Fellow, Project Coordinator); Jacob Burns (Research Assistant); Reiner Beelitz (Architectural Modelling); Francesco Sebregondi (Researcher); and Chris Cobb-Smith (Research Advisor).

The drone strike visualisation project is being undertaken in collaboration with Situ Research, an architectural research practice based in New York.

For more information about Situ Research, visit this website.

The Situ Research team is as follows: McKenna Cole, Akshay Mehra, Charles-Antoine Perrault, and Bradley Samuels.

For further information
Sam Gough
Press Officer
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross, London SE14 6NW

t: +44 (0)20 7919 7970
m: +44 (0)7753309095

e: s.gough@gold.ac.uk

Syria: Torture Centres Revealed

(New York) – Former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used, and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies, Human Rights Watch said in a multimedia report released today. The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.

Read full HRW report here.

Human Rights Watch research shows that the worst torture has taken place in detention facilities run by the country’s four main intelligence agencies, commonly referred to collectively as the mukhabarat:

• The Department of Military Intelligence (Shu`bat al-Mukhabarat al-`Askariyya);

• The Political Security Directorate (Idarat al-Amn al-Siyasi);

• The General Intelligence Directorate (Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-`Amma); and

• The Air Force Intelligence Directorate (Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-Jawiyya).

Each of these four agencies maintains central branches in Damascus as well as regional, city, and local branches across the country. In virtually all of these branches there are detention facilities of varying size.

All of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described detention conditions that would by themselves amount to ill-treatment and, in some cases, torture – extreme overcrowding, inadequate food, and routine denial of necessary medical assistance. A graphic model depicting an overcrowded cell described by one former detainee illustrates how the conditions fall short of international legal standards.

Diagrams produced by SITU Studio and Forensic Architecture, an ERC-funded project.