As the exhibit “Counter Investigations,” comes to a close at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Felix Bazalgette of The New York Review of Books Daily discusses the work of Forensic Architecture, the investigative agency founded by Zone author Eyal Weizman. Weizman’s book on the same subject was published by Zone in 2017. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below.
“…Founded by the Israeli architect Eyal Weizman in 2010 and based at Goldsmiths College in South London, [Forensic Architecture] seeks to use forensic methods of evidence-gathering and presentation against the nation states that developed them. Weizman believes that architects, who are skilled at computer modeling, presenting complex technical information to lay audiences, and coordinating projects made up of many different experts and specialists, are uniquely suited to this kind of investigation. But there’s another, simpler explanation for their involvement: “Most people dying in contemporary conflicts die in buildings.”
From missiles designed to pierce a hole in a roof before exploding inside a particular room, to army units blasting through the walls of houses, to the repeated demolitions of villages like Al-Araqib, conflict has increasingly acquired an architectural dimension. This development has prompted a wave of work by writers, artists, and academics such as Sharon Rotbard, Derek Gregory, Trevor Paglen, and Hito Steyerl focusing on the intersection between design, warfare, and the city. Steyerl, for example, writes in her recent book Duty Free Art that killing is a “matter of design” expressed through planning and policy; like Weizman she asks us not just to examine the moment a gun is fired, but also the ever-widening scope of circumstances and legal mechanisms that make such violence possible, even inevitable.”