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


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