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FORENSIC ARCHITECTURECloud Studies, 2020, stills from video created via 3D modeling, fieldwork geolocation, fluid dynamics, image complex, machine learning, OSINT, remote sensing, synchronization and software development: 23 min 28 sec. Courtesy the artists. 

Forensic Architecture

Also available in:  Chinese

In the popular imagination, forensic science is the preserve of police detectives and prosecutors looking to put “bad guys” in prison. But what recourse do we have when the state commits the crime? For the past decade, the London-based collective Forensic Architecture have used investigative techniques such as audio analysis and 3D-modeling to speak truth to power, illuminating rights abuses in videos and large-scale installations.

Forensic Architecture opened three major surveys in 2020, at the AM Qattan Foundation (AMQF), Ramallah (1/25–4/2); the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (2/19–9/27); and the Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft, Gothenburg (2/1–1/10/21). At MOAD, the group debuted The Beating of Faisal Al-Natsheh (2020), a VR recreation of a 2014 assault on a Palestinian man by an Israeli soldier that Israel’s government tried to bury. Both MOAD and AMQF displayed Six Durations of a Split Second: The Killing of Harith Augustus (2019), a six-channel video breaking down—to the millisecond—the police shooting of the Black Chicagoan in 2018. Produced with the nonprofit Invisible Institute and premiered at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (9/19/19–1/5), the project is timely as ever in a year racked by global protests against police brutality.

For 77sqm_9:26min (2017), displayed at Röhsska and at Wu Space in Shenyang (9/10–11/15), the collective mapped to scale in white floor tape the Kassel internet café where Halit Yozgat, the café owners’ 21-year-old son, was killed by neo-Nazi terrorists in 2006. An accompanying video casts doubt on the testimony of an intelligence officer at the scene who claimed not to have heard the gunshots. As Forensic Architecture point out, Yozgat’s death was among a string of murders by the neo-Nazi faction, raising questions of institutional complicity and selective justice in crimes against immigrants.

The researchers have also undertaken crucial investigations into environmental destruction, collating eight projects on pollution in the video Cloud Studies (2020), screened at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (5/23–2/28/21); the University of Technology Sydney Gallery (9/22–11/13); and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (10/23–1/3/21). Sharing most of their work online, Forensic Architecture have democratized cutting-edge methods that empower us to hold criminal goliaths to account.

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