In this new piece in The Brooklyn Rail, Andreas Petrossiants discusses Eyal Weizman’s Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability, as well as the London based research agency the author founded. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below.
“At a recent talk at e-flux in New York, Weizman reported that the most common tactic states employ to discredit Forensic Architecture’s work is to label the group’s members “just artists”—thus, practitioners without relevant experience. “Architecture,” Weizman counters in the book, “is a crucial analytical frame to apply when buildings, ruins, and cities are concerned. Similarly, we argued, at a time when there are so many images and so much footage coming out of war zones, the work of the image practitioners on our team—the filmmakers, photographers, and artists—is evidently essential.” Every page of Forensic Architecture documents unbelievable work accomplished by employing “artistic” skills to counter-investigate state violence: from the creation of a “cloud atlas” from thousands of videos of IDF bombings in Gaza to map the attacks to the modeling of Saydnaya Prision, a secret Syrian facility, from prisoners’ memories of traveling sounds and slight fluctuations in light. While the group’s website is a dense resource, and Weizman’s previous writings a deep theoretical foundation to their practical work, a major strength of this book is the interweaving of documented evidence, theory, and practical methodology. Forensic Architecture is both handbook and dossier, a presentation of activist research and a call for further militant activism. A precedent has surely been set.”