2020.09.10 - 2021.02.05
Buildings, as composite assemblies of stone, wood, steel, concrete, plastic and glass, are in themselves material entities. It is difficult to notice the motion of them in the context of daily life. Yet buildings are not static, but rather kinetic in the process of transformation, and of which the components constantly move, permeate, adapt, act on and response to changing environmental forces. Buildings, in this regard, are sentient materials recording what happened before and exposing the interaction with the environment outside of them. These common elements are the entry points for London-based agency, Forensic Architecture, to produce architectural evidence and thereby pose interrogation to contemporary processes. Forensic Architecture was established in 2010 by Eyal Weizman, together with a group of fellow researchers ranging from architects, artists, scientists, filmmakers, journalists and lawyers. Their practice centres around independent research on commission from international environmental and human rights groups to investigate state and corporate violence, particularly when it refers to the built environment.
In considering the buildings as both sensors and inscriptive devices, Forensic Architecture unfolds investigation upon the architectural space to compose relations between evidence from all available sources including satellite images, security camera, smartphone, meteorology detectors, and also the traces of effect on the architecture and plants around. When the pixels resolution is strategically controlled by certain entities that the access of satellite images is rather limited, stacks of other information promises arduous analytic process to recognize the relevant evidence and anchor the incident in a particular space-time relation. In this regard, what Forensic Architecture deals with is a kind of bruised information dwelling under the surface of the incident. It is weak and fragile, camouflaged by the seemingly unproblematic appearance. In a state of lurking and murky, the information straddles at the threshold of detectability. Yet in the meanwhile, the tension and effect it created have already developed, sprawling along the extended time scale and pointing back towards the possible perpetrators of incidents.
Forensic Architecture seeks to turn the forensic gaze towards the state agency which means their investigations do not stop at the violence, but rather seek to locate the incident in a particular context, map repeated patterns in time and space, further probe the thread of long-term history and politics, and connect the violence with the world. In this sense, to pattern indicates a reversion of the forensic gaze, taking over the means of evidence production against a kind of inversion in the structural inequality in access to vision, images, and information. To reverse the forensic and investigative gaze towards state agency fundamentally realizes a civil practice that aims to unveil the cover-up and read the traces of state violence.
Forensic Architecture: To Pattern the Bruised Information presents three investigations, 77sqm_9:26min, The Seizure of the Iuventa, and Drone Strike in Mir Ali. From the Neo-Nazi murder, refugee rescue in the Mediterranean, to the drone strike in Pakistan, the exhibition aims to provide an insight into the investigation of Forensic Architecture, and above all, a sensitized world around us. As Weizman states, “in achieving a heightened state of sensitivity to the actuality and material consequences of politics, we realized that we had grown to have something in common with the objects of our investigation. No matter if you are a building, a territory, a photograph, a pixel, or a person, to sense is to imprinted by the world around you, to internalize its force fields, and to transform. And to transform is to feel pain.”
77sqm_9:26min, 2017, Single, Video, 28'54"
The Seizure of the Iuventa, 2018, Single, Video, 33'45"
Drone Strike in Mir Ali, 2013, Single, Video, 9'36"