The Urban-Data Complex

The Urban-Data Complex

Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB)

Shenzhen, 4 December 2015 – 4 March 2016

Forensis is Latin for “pertaining to the forum” and is the root of the term forensics. The Roman forum was a multidimensional space in which humans and objects participated in politics, law and the economy. With the advent of modernity, ‘forensics’ shifted in meaning to refer exclusivly to the domain of law and to the use of science in courts. It became central to the ways states police and govern their subjects, and, through its representations in mass media, a defining feature of contemporary culture. Returning to the wider concepts of forensis, however this exhibition seeks to unlock the potential of forensics as a public, political practice.

At UABB 2015, Forensic Architecture presented a selection of recent investigations that encapsulate the idea of reading and reconstructing violence through the city form. In addition, the group hosted a series of workshops and public forums to engage the practical and conceptual questions raised by the work. The exhibited work included:

  1. Investigations of the use of white phosphorus munitions in Fallujah and Gaza in 2012, which helped lead to a ban of the substance from the arsenal of the Israeli military.
  2. Analysis of drone strikes in Miranshah, Pakistan based on rare documentary footage, commissioned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights in 2013. Forensic Architecture conducted intensive analysis and cross-referencing with other material to locate, time, and partially reconstruct how the events unfolded.
  3. Hannibal in Rafah.  Undertaken in close partnership with Amnesty International, this investigation focuses on four days of the summer 2014 attack on Gaza by the Israeli military. The controversial ‘Hannibal’ directive resulted in the heaviest civilian death toll of the entire conflict, and the extensive destruction of Rafah’s built environment.


  • Eyal Weizman
  • Christina Varvia
  • Francesco Sebregondi
  • Hana Rizvanolli
  • Nick Axel


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