About Forensic Architecture
Forensic Architecture (FA) is an interdisciplinary group of artists, architects, filmmakers, investigative journalists, scientists, software developers and lawyers operating as a research agency led by Israeli-British architect Eyal Weizman. Founded in 2010 as part of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, the agency investigates contemporary political conflicts, police violence and human rights violations with and on behalf of the communities affected, international prosecutors, environmental justice groups, and media organizations. The results of their work are presented in international courtrooms, citizens’ tribunals and parliamentary inquiries, as well as in exhibitions, publications, keynote lectures and seminars. All these forums are used to reflect on contemporary forms of violence in the political and cultural context of our times.
The work of these investigators has been presented at international art and architecture exhibitions. For their recent project, a video produced for the 2019 Whitney Biennal, FA developed a machine learning algorithm to automate the detection of Triple-Chaser tear gas grenade manufactured by Defense Technology, a subsidiary of the Safariland Group. By analyzing online photos and images from civilian cameras, the algorithm was able to detect and locate the use of this grenade in countries in North and South America, the Middle East and North Africa.
About Laura Poitras
Laura Poitras is an American filmmaker and journalist. Citizenfour (2014), the third part of her 9/11 trilogy, won an Oscar for best documentary. The first film in the series, My Country, My Country (2006), which documents the US occupation of Iraq, was nominated for an Academy Award. Part two, The Oath (2010), focuses on the Guantánamo Bay prison and Al Qaeda. Poitras’s reporting on NSA mass surveillance and Edward Snowden received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. She is also the recipient of many other awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship.
Poitras has herself been a target of government surveillance. In 2015 she obtained over one thousand documents revealing that in 2006 the US government had placed her on a terrorist watchlist following the release of her documentary My Country, My Country. The heavily redacted FBI documents show that the government subpoenaed Poitras’s private information and communications from multiple companies, as well as subjecting her to physical surveillance.
It has recently been reported that in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks, high-level CIA officials lobbied to designate Poitras as an “information broker” and an “agent of foreign power,” thereby paving the way to her prosecution. The CIA plot was ultimately not carried out.