Forensic Justice

Forensic Justice

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst

Utrecht, 18 October 2018 – 27 January 2019

From October 18, 2018 until January 27, 2019, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht presents Forensic Justice, an exhibition and a series of public programs with Forensic Architecture.

Forensic Architecture, a London-based independent and interdisciplinary research agency comprised of, among others, artists, scientists, lawyers, filmmakers, and architects uses novel research and aesthetico-political practice to investigate abuses of human rights and, more broadly, the rights of nature. They provide critical evidence for international courts and work with a wide range of citizen-led activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, as well as with art institutions as significant public forums for distributing the investigations.

The exhibition Forensic Justice features a number of tactical forensic reclamations of social and ecological justice. Articulating evidence-based counter-narratives to dominant interpretations of investigated events, the installations mobilize what Forensic Architecture refers to as “public truth”. These mobilizations, as the exhibition proposes, can be understood as critical instances of “forensic justice”.

The exhibition involves two main narratives, entwining the 20th century horrors of genocide with its contemporary extension into environmental catastrophes.

Accompanying the exhibition, BAK will be hosting a public programme, Propositions #7: Evidentiary Methods, to examine and expand upon the notions of “evidence” and “method” in the practice of Forensic Architecture. The programme will be formed of a series of lectures, screenings, and workshops, co-curated by Nick Axel (architectural theorist and researcher, Amsterdam). Please visit the Propositions #7 website for more information.

The project is part of the BAK research series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–2020).

BAK’s main partner in the field of education and research is HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, Utrecht.

BAK’s activities have been made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science and the City Council, Utrecht.

Installation photography © Tom Janssen / BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht

Forensic Architecture Exhibition Team

Eyal Weizman

Christina Varvia

Sarah Nankivell

Samaneh Moafi

Simone Rowat

London Design Bienniale

London Design Biennale

Somerset House

London, 4 – 23 September 2018

On 4 September 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London), and Yazda: Global Yazidi Organization open the exhibition “Maps of Defiance: Documenting  the Genocide  of  the Yazidi  People in Northern Iraq”, representing the UK at the London Design Biennale 2018.

Maps of Defiance is the first stage of a collaborative project in which researchers from Yazda, based in Northern Iraq, are trained in Forensic Architecture’s visual and spatial documentation methods. The aim of this project is to gather evidence for potential future legal processes in which charges could be brought against members of ISIL (also known as the Islamic State, ISIS, or Da’esh) for the 2014 genocide, including extensive destruction of cultural heritage perpetrated against the Yazidi people of the Sinjar area.

This stage of the project addresses the systematic destruction of heritage, focusing specifically on eight temples and mausoleums that were destroyed as part of the genocide against the Yazidis.

This exhibition presents the training process undertaken in Turkey, and the field work undertaken in Northern Iraq. Evidence for this destruction lies in areas still scattered with booby traps and landmines, necessitating a form of ‘documentation at a distance’ that relies on an aerial survey conducted using drones, and cameras attached to kites.

This effort to preserve evidence—an emergency archaeology of the present — demonstrates the role that contemporary design techniques and technologies can play in assisting communities who have recently experienced trauma and loss.

Installation photography © Peter Kelleher/Victoria and Albert Museum, 2018

Exhibition Team

Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator)

Ariel Caine (Project Co-ordinator)

Tané Kinch

Michael Zalta

José Antonio González Zarandona

Chloe Thorne

Nicholas Masterton

Lachlan Kermode

Franc Camps-Febrer

Samaneh Moafi

Bob Trafford

Stefanos Levidis

Christina Varvia

Grace Quah

Sarah Nankivell

Avi Mograbi (Film and Script Advisor)

Anika Sierk (Psychologist)


Jens Robert Janke 
Guley Bor
Faris Mishko Faris
Ronak Alyas
Farhan Dakheel Haje
Marwan Dawod Tamo
Zaid Salim Hassa

Victoria & Albert Museum
Natalie Kane
Brendan Cormier
Esme Hawes


Arts Council England
Victoria & Albert Museum


Broken Bonds

Broken Bonds

8th Festival for Photography f/stop Leipzig

Leipzig, 6 June – 1 July 2018

How can photography draw our attention to general societal dynamics that are not always easy to come to terms with? In what ways can it now be a medium of democracy and societal communication? How can mediation and communication processes be documented by means of photography? These are the questions that the 8th Festival for Photography f/stop addresses with a range of exhibitions at the Baumwollspinnerei and other venues in Leipzig. With a project that examines the year 1990 this festival shows how photography can serve as a means to revisit and remember historical periods and to initiate and advance a process of societal dialogue. The main exhibition in Halle 12, Broken Bonds, shows works by international artists, including 77sqm_9:26min by Forensic Architecture, that examine long-term societal developments that affect everyday life.

Images: Installation at 8. Festival for Photography f/stop Leipzig, Spinnerei, 2018. Photo: dotgain.

Report: Notes from Reality

Report: Notes from Reality

European Media Arts Festival

Osnabrück, 18 April – 7 July 2018

Artistic reports and images open up new confrontations with reality and holds the potential to take over, transform or even refute journalistic forms. The European Media Arts Festival’s 2018 theme, “Report – Notes from Reality” deals with artists’ growing interest in documentary and journalistic working styles which provokes questions: How do artists conduct their research? What new perspectives emerge when world events are viewed from an artistic perspective? How can we “really” tell about reality? And how can media art intervene in the event of political crises?

The main exhibition in Kunsthalle, Osnabrück, featured Forensic Architecture’s Air Strike Atimah documentary and the corresponding Bomb Cloud Atlas series.

Images: Installation at the 31st European Media Arts Festival, Osnabruck, 2018. Photo: Angela von Brill & Franz Reimer 

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

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


Forensic Architecture: Counter Investigations @ ICA | The White Pube, 22-29 April 2018

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

On Struggling to Remain Present When You Want to Disappear

On Struggling to Remain Present When You Want to Disappear

OCAT Shanghai

Shanghai, 8 April – 10 June 2018

The exhibition On Struggling to Remain Present When You Want to Disappear, brings together immersive video and sound installations as well as photographs. Through immersive video and sound installations as well as photographs, the exhibition examines the boundaries where the tangible, the imagined, and the virtual become permeable, and the porousness of these frontiers allows players to break out of traditional societal norms to explore new ways of dealing with their own realities. Forensic Architecture’s 77sqm_9:26min (2017) makes the forensic techniques of investigation and digital reconstruction of a murder public.

Culminating the curatorial fellowship of Wang Dan at KADIST San Francisco, the exhibition was a collaboration between OCAT (Shanghai), the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), and KADIST.

Images: 77sqm_9:26min Installation at the OCAT Shanghai 2018.

Photo: © Shanghai Pavilion “Virtual and Unpredictable: Resistance is Really Time” Works & Space



Kunsthal Charlottenborg

Copenhagen, 17 March – 20 May 2018

Inspired by the impact that social and political experimental projects have had on society, particularly in the 1960s-70s, #whatif presents a number of contemporary artists who attempt to rethink  current political and social structures through their practice. The exhibition’s hashtag title is employed to open a discussion about today’s social and political development. Social media is used in the creation of social movements and hashtags have become a useful tool for signalling political opinion on digital platforms and gathering crowds, disseminating political beliefs and instigating change.

Each exhibition gallery hosted an artistic project, dedicated to envisaging new ways to live on an increasingly fragile planet. Curator Irene Campolmi, exhibited Forensic Architecture’s Ground Truth. An investigation that presents challenge governmental authorities by providing new evidence of crimes against humanity.

#WHATIF was presented in collaboration with CPH:DOX, Denmark’s international documentary film festival.

Images: Ground Truth Installation at #WHATIF Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Cophenhagen, 2018. Photo: © Anders Sune Berg.


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