MARA-STREAM: forensic architecture

Because violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human right (HR) conventions are frequently undertaken in cities and by means that deliberately manipulate the elements that constitute their built fabric, this project contends that organizations employing HR and IHL could benefit from a closer engagement with the operational procedures, conceptual assumptions, methodologies, and technologies of urban and architectural analysis. Legal claims of the kind that are brought to international courts and tribunals or made to circulate within the general media often invoke images of destroyed buildings or of menacing new constructions, but these are too often treated merely as self-evident illustrations of atrocity. This project attempts to transform the built environment from an illustration of alleged violations to a source of knowledge about them and a resource through which controversial events and political processes could be reconstructed, analyzed and better understood. The project is driven by the introduction of a new operative concept – “Forensic Architecture” (FA) – which is proposed as a field of practice and as an analytical method for probing the political and social histories inscribed in spatial artefacts and in built environments.

To be undertaken at the Centre for Research Architecture (CRA), a multidisciplinary group of spatial practitioners, this four-year project will employ new technologies and novel forms of spatial analysis in order to query the function of space as evidence within the different forums of international justice. The project is organized around the investigation of several legal controversies, each with a distinct spatial dimension. In site and archival visits and through the use new technologies of spatial, structural, and event modelling, the project will deal with the built environment aspects of violations. By helping to extend the means by which the physical dimension of urban war could be mapped and modelled, FA will help to create new grounds in thinking about IHL and HR as they bear upon built structures and urban environments. The project will result in a web-based interactive platform including original essays and articles, and the visual/measurable material produced by the case study analyses in various formats. The first three years of the project will be concluded with the presentation of a major exhibition in a pre-eminent culture institute and will be accompanied by a large edited catalogue and a symposium.



Forensics Architecture CRA Studio Seminar Brief 2009-2010 / AL, EW, JP, PT Forensics, etymologically, from its Latin source, means “before the forum”, and refers to the practice and skill of presenting evidence before a gathering of citizens in a forum such as a court. On the basis of artifacts, bodies, traces, medical samples, foot/finger prints, […]

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Posted in forensic architecture, RESEARCH

Susan Schuppli: On media Evidence

Susan Schuppli: On media Evidence

Seminar with artist Susan Schuppli on Media as Forensic Evidence RA STUDIO, 30th of September, 2009 “Perhaps when you cut into the present the future leaks out.” (William Burroughs) – MIXTAPES: In each of the following case studies, a collusion of sorts seems to have taken place between an analogue technology—tape recorder, picture phone, movie […]

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Posted in forensic architecture, LECTURES & TALKS