First U.S. survey of Forensic Architecture's work opens in Miami

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First U.S. survey of Forensic Architecture's work opens in Miami
Investigating the killing of a 37-year-old black man, Harith Augustus, at the hands of police, FA questioned the purported ‘split-second’ in which the death occurred by examining the incident through six different temporal lenses.

MIAMI, FLA.- Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College presents Forensic Architecture: True to Scale, the first U.S. survey of the research agency’s extraordinary work uncovering evidence of state and corporate violence around the world. The exhibition explores a new understanding of architecture, a new evidentiary aesthetic, and a new form of coalition activism. Forensic Architecture: True to Scale is on view from Feb. 20 through Sept. 27, 2020.

Comprising architects, software developers, filmmakers, journalists, lawyers, artists, and scientists, Forensic Architecture is a research agency that uses architectural software and an architectural sensibility to investigate human rights violations. Their work has been used as evidence in a variety of tribunals, parliamentary inquiries, United Nations assemblies, and publications. They consider exhibitions crucial forums in which to expose and contemplate their research, as well. Founded by director Eyal Weizman in 2010 and based out of Goldsmiths at the University of London, Forensic Architecture is also an emergent academic field that focuses on how evidence relating to the built environment enters legal and political processes.

Forensic Architecture: True to Scale displays the evidence and explains the methodologies behind more than a dozen Forensic Architecture investigations. While providing an overview of how advanced techniques such as photogrammetry, audio analysis, augmented reality, 3D modeling, machine learning, and crowd sourcing support their findings, the exhibition considers the complex relationship between a material fact and its representation in the public realm. Amidst what Founding Director Weizman refers to as the “dark epistemology” of a post-truth media environment, their meticulously researched, carefully analyzed, and conscientiously presented evidence demonstrates that it is both possible and imperative to verify what is really happening in the world around us.

Among other investigations, the exhibition includes all six videos of The Killing of Harith Augustus (2019), an investigation of the Chicago Police Department’s claim that a police shooting was a “split-second” decision. Each video examines what happened within a different timeframe, literally starting with the “split second,” followed by the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years leading up to the fatal event. MOAD MDC also debuts Hebron: Testimonies of Violence (2018–20), the first Forensic Architecture investigation in which virtual reality (VR) is used to assist, record, and represent witness testimony. The investigation is co-produced by MOAD and advances an approach that will be practically and theoretically explored through the museum’s public programming.

In addition to a panel discussion featuring experts on the architecture of border walls and refugee camps, MOAD will host a series of events that teach Forensic Architecture’s methodologies while laying the groundwork for an investigation of the alleged human rights violations occurring within a nearby child migrant detention center. Including a coalition of journalists, activists, architects, and MDC students, the series will bring critical attention to the humanitarian crisis at our borders and the architectural forms that evince devastating social policies.

“This exhibition offers an opportunity to rethink the agency of design museums,” said Sophie Landres, MOAD’s Curator of Public Programs. “Forensic Architecture teaches us what tools are available to verify truth claims amidst our currently murky and disorienting media environment. They inspire us to take an active role in the pursuit of social justice.”

Forensic Architecture: True to Scale is curated by Sophie Landres. It is made possible by the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Immersive Technologies in the Arts initiative; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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