03 Nov Forensic Architecture Reports #1
Do you know the work of Forensic Architecture? If not, then be prepared to get your mind blown! Connecting real cases of human rights and environmental violations with the tools used in architecture and design, this studio creates a Wolpertinger of art and real evidence which is then used in some of the biggest court cases and tribunals of recent years.
Forensic Architecture is often challenged by voices declaring in an exhibition “This is evidence, not art!” or in a trial “This is art, not evidence!”. Truth is, that exhibiting their work in art exhibitions draws international attention to cases that States or big corporations would only too gladly keep unnoticed. It helps victims be heard and get access to a public stage. It also sheds light on injustices, corruption and failures of our political systems.
This is the first installation of Forensic Architecture Reports, a series of books each dedicated to a single Forensic Architecture investigation:
On the evening of 4 August 2011, Mark Duggan was shot and killed by the police in the north London neighbourhood of Tottenham after the minicab in which he was traveling was pulled over by a team of undercover officers. The team had begun following Duggan shortly after receiving intelligence that he was in possession of a gun, and the officer who shot him testified that he had seen, for a ‘split second’, Duggan aiming the gun at him after he had exited the minicab. However, the gun was not found next to Duggan’s body on the pavement. According to the police, they discovered it in a patch of grass some seven meters away. The Duggan family’s legal team commissioned Forensic Architecture to conduct an investigation into the critical question at the heart of the case: How did the gun end up in the grass? With no video footage of the shooting itself, Forensic Architecture had to rely primarily on the written and oral testimony of the officers involved to develop a spatial investigation designed to test the plausibility of the police’s narrative and to examine whether the officers themselves could have planted the gun.