Habeas Corpus

Forensic Architecture

This ancient writ, which translates to “may you have the body,” stipulates that a person under arrest must be physically brought before a judge. The judge must see and hear the suspect live. The voice is a corporeal product that contains its own excess, with this corporeal excess announcing to the court the absolute presence of the witness. This bodily excess of the voice resides not in its linguistic functions, but in its nonverbal effects; such as its pitch, accent, glottal stops, intonations, inflections, and impediments. As by-products of the event of language, these effects reveal other kinds of evidence, evidence that may evade the written documentation of legal proceedings but does not escape the ears of the judge and of those listening to a trial in the space of the courtroom.

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