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2014, Sun, Mar 16

Forensics in the Anthropocene

With Nabil Ahmed, Maayan Amir, Adrian Lahoud, Hannah Meszaros Martin (Modelling Kivalina), Godofredo Pereira, Paulo Tavares.

Moderation: Kathryn Yusoff


The concept of the Anthropocene poses a number of fundamental challenges to the domain of law and in particular to that of the laws of war. This is because human violence and environmental change interact in ever more intense ways. Desertification and war have been going hand in hand in the Sahel, while resource exploitation and human rights violations have erupted in places such as Papua, Canada, the US, Chile, Brazil and many others. This panel will discuss principles productive to understand the entanglement of human and natural violence.


Nabil Ahmed is a writer, artist, and researcher on the Forensic Architecture project. His work has been presented internationally, including at the Taipei Biennale (2012), Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) in Toronto. He is a contributor to the “World of Matter” project and has written for Third Text, Volume, and Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence (Routledge, 2014). He is co-curator of Call & Response, an artist run sound art project based in London. Currently Ahmed is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London. He has previously taught in the Department of Visual Cultures and currently teaches at the CASS Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University.


Maayan Amir is an artist, curator, and researcher on the Forensic Architecture project. Her collaborative works with Ruti Sela have been shown internationally at the Sidney Biennale (2006), the Istanbul Biennale (2009), the Berlin Biennale (2010), and in venues such as Centre Pompidou, Art in General, Tate Modern, Jeu de Paume, Ludwig Museum, amongst others. In 2009 she and Sela initiated “The Exterritory Project” for which they won an award for young artists from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011. She has edited a book about Israeli documentary cinema and has also curated many exhibitions. Amir teaches Theory at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (Jerusalem) in the MFA program, as well as in the Fine Arts Program at Haifa University, Sapir Academic College, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and other academic institutes. Throughout 2011, she was a guest resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London.


Adrian Lahoud is an architect, teacher, and research fellow on the Forensic Architecture project. He joined the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths in 2011 as director of the MA Programme; prior to this he was director of postgraduate Urban Design at the University of Technology Sydney. Currently he is leading the M.Arch Urban Design at The Bartlett, University College London (UCL) and is an external thesis advisor at the Projective Cities M.Phil. Programme at the Architectural Association (London). He exhibits and lectures internationally, most recently at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Tate Britain, and Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York). He has been a guest critic at the Royal College of Art London, Columbia GSAPP, Angewandte Vienna, and Technische Universität (TU) Berlin. His doctoral research sets out a philosophical, scientific, and architectural history of scale as a problematic, drawing on case studies of post-war urban planning, territorial governance, and climate modeling.


Modelling Kivalina is comprised of artists and architects based at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London. The group consists of Andrea Bagnato, Helene Kazan, Daniel Fernández Pascual, Hannah Meszaros Martin, and Alon Schwabe. Modelling Kivalina was formed in 2012 when the group was invited by the Anchorage-based Re-Locate project to work in the Inupiaq village of Kivalina, Alaska. The research is funded in part by the World Justice Project, a Seattle-based organization that supports initiatives seeking to promote the rule of law. Modelling Kivalina aims to facilitate planning negotiations between residents and governmental agencies in Alaska through the use of visual techniques, in order to develop new ways of engaging with the issue of climate displacement worldwide.


Godofredo Pereira is an architect and writer based in Porto and London, and a researcher on the Forensic Architecture project. His research “Underground Fetishism” investigates political and territorial conflicts within the planetary race to the underground, with a particular focus on the parallel exhumations of political leaders and natural resources as re-imaginations of the body politic. Together with lawyer Alonso Barros he is coordinating the “Atacama Desert Project,” a geo-forensic analysis of environmental violence in the Atacama Desert in Chile, in support of claims brought against copper companies by local communities and NGOs. He is also the coordinator of History and Theory at the M.Arch Urban Design program at the Bartlett, University College London; co-founder and editor of Detritos, a journal of art and critical theory; and editor of the book Savage Objects (INCM, 2012). He frequently writes on architecture, urbanization, and territory. He graduated as an architect from FAUP (Porto), holds an M.Arch from the Bartlett School of Architecture and is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London.


Paulo Tavares is an architect and urbanist who graduated in Brazil and is currently based between Quito and London, where he is also a researcher on the Forensic Architecture project. Tavares teaches architecture at the Universidad Católica de Ecuador – Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Arte, Quito, and has previously held teaching posts at the Centre for Research Architecture, and at the Visual Lab of the MA in Contemporary Art Theory, both at Goldsmiths University of London. His writings have appeared in many publications worldwide and his work has been exhibited in various venues including Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Portikus in Frankfurt, and the Taipei Biennial. He is developing a project on the politics of ecology in Amazonia within the context of the PhD Program in the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London.


Kathryn Yusoff is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London. She has been working of questions of geologic life, political aesthetics and processes of fossilisation in the Anthropocene. Currently she is writing a book called, “Geologic Life” and co-editing “Capitalism & the Earth” and “GeoSocial Formations”.