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



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

ISBN: 978-84-92505-87-6


“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.”
—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.

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

ISBN: 978-3-95829-035-8



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.



“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.”
Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago



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.



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.


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"


The Least of All Possible Evils

Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza

Eyal Weizman

This book deals with contemporary forms of state violence that are structured by a similar logic of calculations and managed by an assortment of mechanisms of moderation. Humanitarianism, human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) when integrated into state or military practice, combine to provide the frame and the formulas within which these calculations are currently undertaken. A precise number of dead civilians could thus be set as an upper threshold for “proportional” military bombing missions; the size of fields and tonnage of their produce could thus be calculated against security necessities to moderate the design of territorial infringements; the supply of electric current, industrial diesel, and foodstuff – calculated and calibrated at their minimum possible megawatts, litters and calories – could thus be used to govern a population by keeping it on the threshold of life. The condition of incessant calculations in the collusions of humanitarian, human rights and humanitarian law with the logic of state violence is what this book refers to as the humanitarian present.

Published by Verso Books

April 2012, English
Hardback, 208 pages


Publishers Notes:
Groundbreaking exploration of the philosophy underpinning Western humanitarian intervention. The principle of the “lesser evil” — the acceptability of pursuing one exceptional course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice — has long been a cornerstone of Western ethical philosophy. From its roots in classical ethics and Christian theology, to Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the work of the Jewish Councils during the Nazi regime, Weizman explores its development in three key transformations of the problem: the defining intervention of Médecins Sans Frontières in mid-1980s Ethiopia; the separation wall in Israel-Palestine; and international and human rights law in Bosnia, Gaza and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of new research, Weizman charts the latest manifestation of this age-old idea. In doing so he shows how military and political intervention acquired a new “humanitarian” acceptability and legality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.


Press Reviews

Ramona Wadi (Middle East Monitor, 16 January 2018)

Alex Baker (Ceasefire Magazine, Jun 2012)

Lindsay Bremner, “Forensic Architecture” (The Architectural Review, October 2012)

Rebecca Close, “Grey Areas” (Review 31, Oct 2012)

Zach Dorfman, “Hard Questions for Humanitarians” (The American Interest, Nov 2012)

eflux on ‘Structural Violence’: excerpted passages

Yotam Feldman, “Collateral Assets” (Radical Philosophy 178, Mar-Apr 2013)

Derek Gregory, “Humanitarian space and the humanitarian present” (Geographical Imagination,  Aug 2012)

Anirban Gupta-Nigam (Marx & Philosophy, Jul 2012)

Lisa Hajjar (Jadaliyya, May 2013)

Edwin Heathcote, “Forensic Architecture is on Trial” (Icon 113, Oct 2012)

Carla Hung (Refulgent Asylum, Sep 2012)

International Herbert Marcuse Society, Book of the Month, November 2012

Omar Jabary Salamanca (Antipode, Mar 2013)

J.D. Moon (Choice Reviews Online, October 2013)

Francesco Moscatelli (Tuttolibri, La Stampa, May 2013) 

Samuel Moyn, “Road to Hell” (BookForum, February/March 2012)

Melissa Ptacek, “On the Ruins of Ruins” (Theory & Event, Vol. 16, Issue 1, 2013)

Theo Reeves-Evison,“Toxic Medicine” (Soundings, Dec 2012)

Simon Reid-Henry, “On the politics of our humanitarian present” (Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2013, volume 31)

Legacy Russell (BOMB Magazine, summer 2012)

Etienne Turpin (Fuse 36/2, Mar 2013)

Patrick Weir (Space and Polity, April 2013)

Rhys Williams (The Socialist Review, October 2012)


Mengele’s Skull

The Advent of Forensic Aesthetics

Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman

In 1985, the body of Josef Mengele, one of the last Nazi war criminals still at large, was unearthed in Brazil. The ensuing process of identifying the bones in question opened up what can now be seen as a third narrative in war crime investigations—not that of the document or the witness but rather the birth of aforensic approach to understanding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In the period coinciding with the discovery of Mengele’s skeleton, scientists began to appear in human rights cases as expert witnesses, called to interpret and speak on behalf of things—often bones and human remains. But the aesthetic, political, and ethical complications that emerge with the introduction of the thing in war crimes trials indicate that this innovation is not simply one in which the solid object provides a stable and fixed alternative to human uncertainties, ambiguities, and anxieties.

The complexities associated with testimony—that of the subject—are echoed in the presentation of the object. Human remains are the kind of things from which the trace of the subject cannot be fully removed. Their appearance and presentation in the courts of law and public opinion has in fact blurred something of the distinction between objects and subjects, evidence and testimony.

Published by Sternberg Press
Co-published with Portikus, Frankfurt am Main
Design by Zak Group

2012, English
Softcover, 88 pages


Forensic Architecture

Notes from Fields and Forums

Eyal Weizman

This notebook is a philosophical and cultural-critical examination of Israel’s policy of occupation. The architect Eyal Weizman uses the term “forensic,” derived from the Latin forensis, “forum,” to reconstruct the history of attacks on and violations of buildings. Drawing from the fields of judicial medicine and psychiatry, “Forensic Architecture” serves in revisiting damaged Palestinian houses and ruins. Weizman, who is a member of the collective Decolonizing Architecture,founded in 2007, describes Forensic Architecture as “the archaeology of the very recent past” and “a form of assembling for the future.” Forensic Aesthetics mirror relationships and logics of action, objective and subjective probabilities; what is needed is an interpreter who addresses the public in the name of a destroyed home.

Published by Hatje Cantz
Series dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken

2012, German, English
Softcover, 44 pages




Hollow Land

Israel’s Architecture of Occupation

By Eyal Weizman

Published by Verso

May, 2007
Hardcover, 336 pages

ISBN: 9781844671250


Acclaimed exploration of the political space created by Israel’s colonial occupation

From the tunnels of Gaza to the militarized airspace of the Occupied Territories, Eyal Weizman unravels Israel’s mechanisms of control and its transformation of Palestinian towns, villages and roads into an artifice where all natural and built features serve military ends. Weizman traces the development of this strategy, from the influence of archaeology on urban planning, Ariel Sharon’s reconceptualization of military defence during the 1973 war, through the planning and architecture of the settlements, to the contemporary Israeli discourse and practice of urban warfare and airborne targeted assassinations.

Hollow Land lays bare the political system at the heart of this complex and terrifying project of late-modern colonial occupation.



Praise for Hollow Land

“The most astonishing book on architecture that I have read in years.” – Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

“A masterpiece of political analysis.” – James Ron, The Nation

“Eyal Weizman has taken Edward Said’s thesis to a new level, generating extraordinary, and at times surreally uncomfortable, conclusions…Weizman’s book is of salutary interest.” – Jay Merrick, Independent

“Weizman takes his readers on a tour of the visible and invisible ways in which Israel implements its control over Palestinians… Hollow Land is eloquent about the architectural chaos and confusion created by Israel in the Occupied Territories.” – London Review of Books

“A passionate jeremiad.” – Harper’s

“Eyal Weizman brilliantly deconstructs Israel’s yoking of traditionally humanist disciplines and discourse to the service of its campaign against the Palestinians. This book is chilling but essential reading.” – Ahdaf Soueif

Hollow Land is a remarkably original work that confirms Eyal Weizman’s indispensable role as a critic of the sinister and ubiquitous instrumentality of space in contemporary politics and life.” – Michael Sorkin

Hollow Land is a remarkable achievement. Scholarly and poetic in its epic reach, and narrated with the clarity of vision and sensibility of an artist, Hollow Land is destined to become a classic.” – Karma Nabulsi

“A startling exercise in what it means to think through the axiomatics of occupation, capture and subjection… Weizman boldly attempts to create an entirely new method to conceptualize the relationship between surfaces, movement, and the tools of war.” – Achille Mbembe

“A wrenching account of the multiple ways in which the land of Palestine has been hollowed out by Israeli occupation. Weizman’s stunning combination of words and images is at once a brilliant critique of the politics of space and a searing indictment of colonial rule and dispossession.” – Derek Gregory


Imagined Territories | LA Review of Books

Behind Israel’s Walls | Financial Times

Hollow Land (review) | Future Anterior 5(2)

Hollow Land | Political Geography 28

Sovereignty by Stealth | The Electronic Intifada