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Forensic Architecture

Forensic Architecture
  

Issues relating to the built environment are entering the courts and media forums of international justice with increasing frequency. This is because the built environment is both the means of violation and a source of evidence that can bear witness to the events that traversed it. Legal claims that are brought to international courts and tribunals or circulated within the mass media often include images of destroyed buildings or menacing structures. Too often, these structures or ruins are considered self-evident illustrations of atrocity. The field of forensic architecture must now emerge to attempt to transform the built environment from an illustration of alleged violations to a source of knowledge about historical events – or rather, as a complex methodology aimed at narrating histories from the things that it saturates.

Etymologically, ‘forensics’ is derived from a Latin term meaning ‘before the forum’ and refers to the practice and skill of making propositions through objects before professional and political gatherings or courts of law. Forensics thus belongs to the art of rhetoric; only here, it is the mediated speech of the object/thing, rather than people, that is addressed to the forums. In the contemporary period, the adjective ‘forensic’ refers to the legal application of scientific techniques. While emphasising the virtues of an objective, distant and disinterested approach, contemporary forensics also attempts to actualise historical relations as material ones.

Forensic Architecture


  
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 31st, 2010 at 5:58 pm
  
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