Forensic Architecture: Hacia Una Estética Investigativa

Named by the New York Times as one of the ten non-fiction books that have marked 2017

Exhibition catalogue from Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetics

Edited by MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona) and MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo)

Contributors: Ferran Barenblit, Yve-Alan Bois, Michel Feher, Hal Foster, Rosario Güiraldes, Adam Lehner, Cuauhtémoc Medina, and Eyal Weizman

Spanish

2017

Softcover, 176 pages, 22 x 16 cm, 110 illustrations

ISBN: 978-84-92505-87-6

€20.00


“En el excelente catálogo de la exposición…se puede acabar de entender su pensamiento gracias a las preguntas que le formulan Yve-Alain Bois y Hal Foster. Su estética es un método que se apropia de los mecanismos forenses para aplicarlos a la arquitectura y el urbanismo, y en vez de colaborar con la policía y el Estado, trabaja en su contra: los corrige, los denuncia, los desmiente.”
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—JORGE CARRIÓN, The New York Times, 9 July 2017

 

In 2010 a group of architects, artists, filmmakers, journalists, scientists, and lawyers founded Forensic Architecture (FA), a research agency that investigates state and corporate violence, especially when it impacts upon the built environment. To do this, they produce evidence files comprising building surveys, models, animations, video analyses and interactive cartographies, and present them in forums ranging from the general media to international courts, truth commissions and citizen tribunals.

This publication features six of its recent investigations and it includes an introduction by Cuauhtémoc Medina and Ferran Barenblit, a conversation between Eyal Weizman, Yve-Alain Bois, Hal Foster and Michel Feher, and a postface by the curator Rosario Güiraldes, who highlights the necessity to embrace an engaged aesthetic practice that combines both a critical understanding and tactical use of facts.

This book is only available in Spanish.

Download a PDF of the catalogue here.

Forensic Architecture

Violence at the Threshold of Detectability

By Eyal Weizman

Published by Zone Books
Distributed by The MIT Press

April, 2017
Hardcover, 368 pages, 7.5 x 9 inches, 100 colour illustrations

ISBN: 9781935408864

£32.95 / $39.95

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“In a world where environmental crimes are increasingly linked to human rights violations, Forensic Architecture has become an essential practice. Weizman and his team have understood how the tools of science and architecture can influence and transform the juridical system.”
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Baltasar Garzón, former Spanish investigating judge and president of the human rights foundation FIBGAR


In recent years, the group Forensic Architecture began using novel research methods to undertake a series of investigations into human rights abuses. Today, the group provides crucial evidence for international courts and works with a wide range of activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International, and the UN. Forensic Architecture has not only shed new light on human rights violations and state crimes across the globe, but has also created a new form of investigative practice that bears its name. The group uses architecture as an optical device to investigate armed conflicts and environmental destruction, as well as to cross-reference a variety of evidence sources, such as new media, remote sensing, material analysis, witness testimony, and crowd-sourcing.

In Forensic Architecture, Eyal Weizman, the group’s founder, provides, for the first time, an in-depth introduction to the history, practice, assumptions, potentials, and double binds of this practice. The book includes an extensive array of images, maps, and detailed documentation that records the intricate work the group has performed. Traversing multiple scales and durations, the case studies in this volume include the analysis of the shrapnel fragments in a room struck by drones in Pakistan, the reconstruction of a contested shooting in the West Bank, the architectural recreation of a secret Syrian detention center from the memory of its survivors, a blow-by-blow account of a day-long battle in Gaza, and an investigation of environmental violence and climate change in the Guatemalan highlands and elsewhere.

Weizman’s Forensic Architecture, stunning and shocking in its critical narrative, powerful images, and daring investigations, presents a new form of public truth, technologically, architecturally, and aesthetically produced. The practice calls for a transformative politics in which architecture as a field of knowledge and a mode of interpretation exposes and confronts ever-new forms of state violence and secrecy.

Reviews

Truth Construction | n+1 32 p. 162-172, September 2018

Anyways Elastic | Review 31, August 2018

Springerin, Issue 1/2018

Between visible and undetectable violence | Radical Philosophy 2(02), June 2018

Contre-enquêtes sur des crimes d’Etat | Mediapart, 15 March 2018

Journal of Visual Culture 16(3) p. 392-395, January 2018

Best books of 2017: Art, architecture, and cinema | Financial Times, 1 December 2017

Forensic Architecture: How to make right state wrongs | New Scientist, 6 September 2017

Praise for Forensic Architecture

“As the director of Forensic Architecture, Weizman has invented a new academic discipline, perhaps even a whole new science, a committed, engaged, citizen science. . . . Weizman has found a way to harness our everyday digital diversions, for a fierce, moral purpose.” —Wired

“This forensic process—what Weizman calls ‘architecture in reverse’—shows how the analytical and presentational skills of architects can be deployed in graphic, damning detail, in circumstances that extend way beyond the comfort zone of the drawing board.” —Guardian

“Eyal Weizman is pioneering the art and science of ‘forensic architecture’ to reveal the true extent of state-sponsored violence.” —New Scientist

“In many respects Forensic Architecture is the current reincarnation of Soviet Russia’s Factography, a collective enterprise that, in the 1920’s and 30’s, was geared towards the construction of facts, as opposed to merely documenting them. The difference between both endeavors, each similarly brazen in taking advantage of unprecedented advances of media technology, is that the facts that Forensic Architecture wishes to (re)construct are for the most part acts of state violence that the perpetrating state deliberately conceals. Those facts are registered in buildings (or traces thereof), which Weizman and his team equate both to photographs (sensors) and to tools for decoding other sensors (such as the clouds of smoke hovering over a bombed city). Analyzing the vast bank of images provided by social media in conflict zones through a computation of differential parallaxes, Forensic Architecture is fast becoming the most efficient visual machine against the suppression of evidence by the authors of crimes against humanity. Recent history tells us that its work will be evermore needed.” —Yve-Alain Bois

“The investigative work of Eyal Weizman and his colleagues at Forensic Architecture is truly remarkable, breaking novel theoretical ground while actively supporting struggles for justice. Again and again, landscapes of power, violence, resistance and ecological stress are transformed in stunning new ways. Among the many revelations in these pages is a new mapping of the connections between climate-change, drought, drones and armed conflict. These are powerful analytic tools that will be indispensable to the construction of a new human rights framework.” —Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

 

The Conflict Shoreline

Colonization As Climate Change In The Negev Desert

By Eyal Weizman and Fazal Sheikh

Published by Steidl Books

June, 2015
Hardcover, 96 pages, 20.6 x 27 cm, 106 images
English

ISBN: 978-3-95829-035-8

€50.00

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The village of al-‘Araqib has been destroyed and rebuilt more than seventy times in the ongoing “battle over the Negev,” an Israeli state campaign to uproot the Palestinian Bedouins from the northern threshold of the desert. Unlike other frontiers fought over during the Israel-Palestine conflict, this one is not demarcated by fences and walls but by shifting climatic conditions. The threshold of the desert advances and recedes in response to colonization, cultivation, displacement, urbanization, and, most recently, climate change. In his response to Sheikh’s “Desert Bloom” series (part of Sheikh’s The Erasure Trilogy, published by Steidl), Eyal Weizman’s essay incorporates historical aerial photographs, contemporary remote sensing data, state plans, court testimonies, and nineteenth-century travelers’ accounts, exploring the Negev’s threshold as a “shoreline” along which climate change and political conflict are deeply and dangerously entangled.

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“The Conflict Shoreline makes brilliant use of aerial and other photographs to trace the settler-colonial origins of the practices that made climate into a political tool in the hands of Zionists seeking to displace Bedouin tribes from their original homes in the land of Israel. There is much to learn from this book about ‘climate change’ as a profoundly colonial project.”
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Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

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Reviews

The Desert Threshold | LA Review of Books

Israel: The Broken Silence | The New York Review of Books

On the Conflict Shoreline | Tony Simpson

The Conflict Shoreline | Uncube

A Line in the Sand | Muftah

The Conflict Shoreline | Cabinet Magazine

 

The Roundabout Revolutions

Critical Spatial Practice 6

By Eyal Weizman

With Blake Fisher and Samaneh Moafi
Edited by Nikolaus Hirsch, Markus Miessen
Featuring photography by Kyungsub Shin

Published by Sternberg Press

July, 2015
Softcover, 10.5 x 15 cm, 120 pages, 11 colour and 55 b/w ill.
English

ISBN:978-3-95679-098-0

£15.00


One common feature of the wave of recent revolutions and revolts around the world is not political but rather architectural: many erupted on inner-city roundabouts.  In thinking about the relation between protest and urban form, Eyal Weizman starts with the May 1980 uprising in Gwangju, South Korea, the first of the “roundabout revolutions,” and traces its lineage to the Arab Spring and its hellish aftermath.

Rereading the history of the roundabout through the vortices of history that traverse it, the book follows the development of the roundabout in Europe and North America in the early twentieth century, to its subsequent export to the colonial world in the context of attempts to discipline and police the “chaotic” non-Western city. How did an urban apparatus put in the service of authoritarian power became the locus of its undoing?

Today, as the tide of revolt that characterized the Arab Spring seems to ebb, when nations and societies disintegrate by brutal civil wars and military oppression, the series of revolutions might seem like Dante’s circles of hell. To counter this counter-revolution, Weizman proposes that the immanent power of the people at the roundabouts will need to find its corollary in sustained work at round tables—the ongoing formation of political movements able to enact political change.

The sixth volume of the Critical Spatial Practice series stems from Eyal Weizman’s contribution to the Gwangju Folly II in 2013, an exhibition curated by Nikolaus Hirsch with Philipp Misselwitz and Eui Young Chun for the Gwangju Biennale. Weizman and the architect Samaneh Moafi constructed a folly composed of seven roundabouts and a round table in front of the Gwangju train station, one of the central points in the events of May 1980.


FORENSIS

The Architecture of Public Truth

 

The Financial Times Architecture Book of the Year 2014

Edited by Forensic Architecture

With contributions by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nabil Ahmed, Maayan Amir, Hisham Ashkar & Emily Dische-Becker, Ryan Bishop, Jacob Burns, Howard Caygill, Gabriel Cuéllar, Eitan Diamond, DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency), Anselm Franke, Grupa Spomenik, Ayesha Hameed, Charles Heller, Helene Kazan, Thomas Keenan, Steffen Krämer, Adrian Lahoud, Armin Linke, Jonathan Littell, Modelling Kivalina, Model Court, Working Group Four Faces of Omarska, Gerald Nestler, Godofredo Pereira, Nicola Perugini, Alessandro Petti, Lorenzo Pezzani, Cesare P. Romano, Susan Schuppli, Francesco Sebregondi, Michael Sfard, Shela Sheikh, SITU Research, Caroline Sturdy Colls, John Palmesino & Ann Sofi Ronnskog / Territorial Agency, Paulo Tavares, Füsun Türetken, Robert Jan van Pelt, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss / NAO, Eyal Weizman, Ines Weizman, Chris Woods.

Published by Sternberg Press
Co-published by Forensic Architecture
Design by Zak Group

March 2014, English
Softcover with dust jacket, 744 pages

Selected by the Financial Times as one of the Best Architecture & Design Books in 2014.

“This dense, provocative book proposes architecture as evidence, advocating the use of built and virtual space as a field of study in the struggle against violations of human rights. It spans the bombings in Gaza, drone strikes and the sinking of refugee boats”.

Edwin Heathcote — Finacial Times    

Forensics originated from the term “forensis” which is Latin for “pertaining to the forum.” The Roman forum was a multidimensional space of negotiation and truth-finding in which humans as well as objects participated in politics, law, and the economy. With the advent of modernity, forensics shifted to refer exclusively to the courts of law and to the use of medicine, and today as a science in service to the law. The present use of forensics, along with its popular representations have become increasingly central to the modes by which states police and govern their subjects.

By returning to forensis this book seeks to unlock forensics’ original potential as a political practice and reorient it. Inverting the direction of the forensic gaze it designates a field of action in which individuals and organizations detect and confront state violations.

The condition of forensis is one in which new technologies for mediating the “testimony” of material objects—bones, ruins, toxic substances, landscapes, and the contemporary medias in which they are captured and represented—are mobilized in order to engage with struggles for justice, systemic violence, and environmental transformations across the frontiers of contemporary conflict.

This book presents the work of the architects, artists, filmmakers, lawyers, and theorists who participated directly in the “Forensic Architecture” project in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London, as well as the work of associates and guests. It includes forensic investigations undertaken by the project and its collaborators aimed at producing new kinds of evidence for use by international prosecutorial teams, political organizations, NGOs, and the UN. It also brings together research and essays that situate contemporary forensic practices within broader political, historical, and aesthetic discourse.

Selected spreads from "FORENSIS: The Architecture of Public Truth"

 

Entangled Earth

Essay by Nabil Ahmed in Third Text, volume 27, 2013
Issue “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology,” edited by T.J. Demos

The 1970 Bhola Cyclone in Bengal remains a paramount example of the entanglement between ecological violence and history of the state. This article claims the cyclone as an actor in the national liberation of Bangladesh. Continuing with the idea that nature has voice in political ecology, the aim of the article is to examine environmental activist practices in Bangladesh. Fields examined include cyclone shelters, the shipbreaking industry of Chittagong, where the object of capture is iron, and the deep sea gas blocks in the Bay of Bengal contested by India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, where the space of cyclone doubles as a resource for global capital. By recognizing the entanglement of objects such as cyclone, iron and gas in environmental activist practices the article attempts to bring the agency of nature to humanitarianism-led environmental politics in Bangladesh, and to a renewed political ecology of the global south.

Sensible Politics

The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism

 

Interview with Eyal Weizman
Anthology edited by Meg McLagan and Yates McKee

Political acts are encoded in medial forms—feet marching on a street, punch holes on a card, images on live stream, tweets—that have force, shaping people as subjects and constituting the contours of what is sensible, legible, visible. Thus, these events define the terms of political possibility and create terrain for political actions.

Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism considers the constitutive role played by aesthetic and performative techniques in the staging of claims by nongovernmental activists. Attending to political aesthetics means focusing not on a disembodied image that travels under the concept of art or visual culture, nor on a preformed domain of the political that seeks subsequent expression in media form. Instead, it requires bringing the two realms together into the same analytic frame. Drawing on the work of a diverse group of contributors, from art historians, anthropologists, and political theorists to artists, filmmakers, and architects, Sensible Politics situates aesthetic forms within broader activist contexts and networks of circulation and in so doing offers critical insight into the practices of mediation whereby the political becomes manifest.

With contributions by Barbara Abrash, Negar Azimi, Ariella Azoulay, Amahl Bishara, Judith Butler, Eduardo Cadava, Jonathan Crary, Ann Cvetkovich, Faye Ginsburg, Sam Gregory, Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, Roger Hallas, Andrew Herscher, Sandi Hilal, Kirsten Johnson, Liza Johnson, Thomas Keenan, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Jaleh Mansoor, Yates McKee, Meg McLagan, Alessandro Petti, Hugh Raffles, Felicity D. Scott, Kendall Thomas, Leshu Torchin, Eyal Weizman, Benjamin J. Young, Huma Yusuf, and Charles Zerner.

Published by Zone Books

2012, English
Hardcover, 656 pages

£25.95 / $36.95

“Photographs, maps, videos, reports, charts, spaces, and bodies—these and many other material things assemble into what the editors of this remarkable volume call an ‘image-complex’ that conditions how we know what we know, and what we do with that knowledge. Sensible Politics is a practical, theoretical guide for thinking and acting in the aesthetico-political register that puts art and politics together with rigor, imagination, and urgency. For anyone concerned with these matters, this is not just an interesting book, or a useful book. It is a necessary book.” —Reinhold Martin, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University

sensible

 

The Thick Surface of the Earth

Essay by Eyal Weizman

in “Common Ground: A Critical Reader,” edited by David Chipperfield.
Venice Biennale of Architecture 2012 catalogue

An analytical insight on the Biennale exhibition’s main themes. The critical companion to the Biennale catalog, this book presents a general overview of the exhibition’s contents, helping one understand the Common Ground event. The list of authors features many great luminaries of architectural and cultural writing as well as daily reporters and journalists. By elucidating some of the underlying concerns of the exhibition, the book seeks to strengthen the ties to the Biennale by adding short, often visually led pieces directly related to Common Ground. For this reason, the book is destined to have a broad and enduring influence on architectural and cultural writing.