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Spring 2024


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Truth Construction

In issue 32 of n+1, Anna Altman discusses the work of Forensic Architecture, in her review of Eyal Weizman’s Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the review. The full text is available to the left. An excerpt appears below:

“Forensic Architecture relies on several key strategies: the primacy of witness testimony; the way that events, both natural and not, leave traces on bodies and buildings; and the use of diverse, unexpected documentation to mobilize an argument. Their work borrows from investigative journalism, data visualization, and international human rights law. Their ideas originate in what Eyal Weizman, the architect and professor who founded the organization, calls “counterforensics.” That practice originated in Argentina in the 1980s, when activists exhumed and analyzed the bodily remains of victims of political violence as part of an effort to hold the state accountable for its crimes. In the ’90s, exhumation of the victims of political repression spread to Chile, the former Yugoslavia, Honduras, and Rwanda. These interrogations focused on broken bones and smashed skulls. From there, human rights investigations latched onto a “forensic turn,” arguing that various materials can be used to investigate a crime — including buildings. As Weizman writes in Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability, the first comprehensive overview of the collaborative’s history and work, these investigations prompted him to look at “‘the materiality and texture of a building as a surface upon which events get imprinted and upon which process becomes form.’”