What do drones, explosions, shipwrecks and environmental crimes have to do with architecture? The Forensic Architecture research laboratory uses architecture in support of justice and truth with an unusual combination of technology, visual arts and investigative journalism, employing spatial analysis as a tool to study conflicts and crimes from an unprecedented perspective.
The interdisciplinary think-tank was founded by Israeli architect and intellectual Eyal Weizman (Haifa, Israel, 1970) in 2010 and is based at Goldsmiths, University of London. The group works with international institutions and NGOs – such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – to investigate human rights abuses and injustices by corporations or state governments.
Presented over the years at biennials and cultural institutions around the world, Forensic Architecture’s work brings together data, maps, official documents, material research, photographs and audio-visual recordings. Their installations produce a visual synthesis of collected evidence and create correlations in order to make complex analyses and hidden truths comprehensible.
Exhibited in 2018 at the nomadic art biennial Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Forensic Oceanographyis one of the London collective’s most current and relevant researches: a critical, spatial and aesthetic investigation on Mediterranean Sea migrations in which the two authors, Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, analysed and represented the direct effects of European policies on the ongoing migratory catastrophe occurring on the southern border of the Union, the legal disputes between nation states and the NGOs that help migrants, and reconstructed in detail a shipwreck in which 63 people lost their lives.
Forensic Architecture therefore not only experiments with new forms of documentation within the fields of international law and politics, but also operates as a laboratory inspiring debate and personal mobilisation on some of the main issues of our time.