EYAL WEIZMAN / FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE:
15 x 20 cm
Price: 35 lei
From the ground, the object is seemingly innocuous. A kite, floating just above the horizon, its line stretched tight in the wind. It is only when it is reeled back that one can see the camera attached to it, held together using rubber bands and the neck of a plastic bottle.
Referred to as a ‘community satellite’, its images will be used in lieu of actual satellite imagery; filmed in areas above the Negev desert where Bedouin ownership of land is contested, and yet higher-resolution satellite images are withheld. The pictures show evidence of houses and other landmarks that point to Bedouin inhabitation prior to the founding of Israel in 1948. In an area where many Bedouin villages are illegalised, and routinely destroyed to make way for Jewish settlements, it is no small conclusion.
This makeshift satellite is just one of the many inventions from the group Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Made up of architects, lawyers, journalists, scientists, and more, it is far from a conventional architectural practice; instead investigating human rights and environmental violations where the truth appears to have been distorted or covered up. In 10 years of work, they have investigated illegal detention sites in Cameroon, used oceanography to track a migrant boat adrift in NATO-surveilled waters, modelled a prison in Syria using victims’ memories of sound, and examined the causes and consequences of forest fires in Borneo and Sumatra. At its forefront is Eyal Weizman, a British Israeli architect.