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“The architects can also commit a war crime on a drawing board”

The agency's Forensic Architecture could be defined, according to its founder, as “a cross between an architectural office and a Drafting”. Eyal Weizman (Haifa

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“The architects can also commit a war crime on a drawing board”

The agency's Forensic Architecture could be defined, according to its founder, as “a cross between an architectural office and a Drafting”. Eyal Weizman (Haifa, Israel, 1970), launched at the beginning of this decade as a research office associated with Goldsmiths, University of london in the professor. Your analysis with the thoroughness of a forensic human rights violations, proceedings-judicial or other events that occurred in the dark zone of the crimes of the State; whether the enforced disappearance of the 43 students of the Rural School of Ayotzinapa, in Iguala (Mexico); the use of chemical weapons in Syria; or the murder of a palestinian bedouin that the israeli Government wanted to pass off as a legitimate defense against a terrorist attack.

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In the agency, employ some 20 people, including architects, investigative reporters, filmmakers, developers, computer scientists, human rights lawyers, archeologists and scientists. Each of which brings its know-how in the construction of a building of tests which are then used in Parliaments, courts, truth commissions or newspapers. It is also exhibited in art centres such as the Macba in Barcelona, the MUAC in Mexico City or the Documenta in Kasel, with the consequent debate over whether it is or is not art. And what does the architecture of the name? “We build models to tell a story and provide a verification viable, because the crime is always longer and durable than the instant in which it occurs. We do archaeology of the present”, explained Weizman during an interview Thursday night, before offering the opening conference of the festival Tentacle, that explores through Saturday in the Matadero of Madrid on the intersection of technology, critical thinking, and new forms of digital life.

In galleries and biennials presented its work with the format of the installation in which the visitor will find models, murals data, reconstructions of 3D video or interviews with victims, witnesses and experts, aiming to clarify the facts. “In these times of posverdad, in which the evidence is so elusive, controversial and tainted politically, we seek to build a model of verification. The fake news is not new to anyone who has worked in a war zone. The occupation of Palestine, for example, is a huge fake news. Deny that it is an occupation. And deny the violence. Thanks to Trump and other such techniques of distortion have been globalized. What is worse is that they do not pursue the public to think one thing or the other, but to annihilate the possibility of verification, that is not the same as the truth. We have been accused of manipulators, liars, and leftists from the russians until Bashar al-Assad, the State of Israel or the party christian democrat German”.

Image of the work of Forensic Architecture on the slaughter of Iguala.

trained Architect with a strong profile public intellectual —in English, we have translated two of his books: The skull of Mengele. The advent of an aesthetic forensics (Sans Soleil, 2015) and through the walls. How the israeli army took control of the post-modern criticism and reinvented the urban guerrilla (Errata Naturae, 2012), has invented the neologism contraforense to define what it does. “When there is a crime, to line the area and the State sends its experts. We Bahis Siteleri do not allow access to the perimeter, so we operate from the outside, leaks, videos, social networks, or testimonials”. This modus operandi, the he ties with associations such as Wikileaks, on which he says: “we greatly Respect his work and believe that it is indispensable, but the problem with your data is that no one makes the check later. The part leak is splendid. The part wiki not so much. We complete that. We are able to handle tens of thousands of data and breeding. No mind, not even the best detective, you can do that on the cork of the police station”. During the conference, Weizman will put several examples, like that time that combined photographs uploaded to Facebook by the soldiers, satellite images and planes in three dimensions to prove the existence of a torture centre us in Cameroon, within the war against the terrorist group Boko Haram.

The decision to give out at museums to their political activism have been placed in an interesting place, in which they are disdained “from the world of art as forensic”, while in the courts they are suspicious of his evidence as works of art. To the question if you understand the risk that he runs of off his speech by mixing it with contemporary art, which is capable of trivializing by means of the aesthetic to the issues rather more hairy, Weizman replied: “There is a danger of fetishization undeniable. But I still believe that the best version of that world, offers a critical environment, a place in which to think about the present. Expose the piece about Ayotzinapa in Mexico did advance the judicial investigation. It is a complicated game, but it's worth to play it”.


These contradictions they have also been finalists for the Turner, perhaps the prize of contemporary art most famous in the world. “When we learned that we had been chosen, declared that he preferred to win cases win prizes. Many thought that he had been disrespectful to the institution. I have feelings ambiguous. On the one hand, I see the opportunity to put in a visible place in our work and that is good. On the other, I understand the criticism. The news gave ammunition to our detractors, but 25,000 pounds we would well to continue investigating.” In the last report, Art Review, Weizman is ranked number nine in the list of the 100 most influential people of the art.

in Spite of that, Forensic Architecture is not on the market, although sometimes the institutions will buy the parts they expose. “I would like to receive some day the offer of a private collector just for the pleasure of telling you no.” The agency account with EU funds, contributions from foundations and the money of grants for projects on technology and human rights. Also at work, “in about two-thirds of the cases,” “as the private detectives”, by order of associations, also NGOS, they look for evidence to present in court. Not all of their production ends up in a gallery. “Sometimes we give the client a lot of folders full of papers. And there are times that we are not interested in going to the courts, as in Israel, where we believe that the law is at the service of the domination of the palestinians.”

When Weizman was living there, he began his work in human rights associations. “In the occupied territories, I realized how important it is to urban planning as instrumentand / or conflict. Also architects and town planners can commit a war crime on a drawing board, on how they design the houses. I decided to make a detailed map of the settlements, because it does not exist.” The thinker palestinian-american Edward Said he learned that it was urgent to do a “mapping alternative of those places and of those people”. At the outbreak of the revolution of social networks, the idea arose of what contraforense. Prior to his current mission, he also devoted himself to build, although do not intend to do so again. “I don't have anything against the architecture, but now what interests me is to use the potential that such discipline leads to wasting a long time in the name of the design”.

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