Eyal Weizman: Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability (2017)

6 December 2018, dusan

“In recent years, a little-known research group named Forensic Architecture began using novel research methods to undertake a series of investigations into human rights abuses. Today, the group provides crucial evidence for international courts and works with a wide range of activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International, and the UN.

Beyond shedding new light on human rights violations and state crimes across the globe, Forensic Architecture has also created a new form of investigative practice that bears its name. The group uses architecture as an optical device to investigate armed conflicts and environmental destruction, as well as to cross-reference a variety of evidence sources, such as new media, remote sensing, material analysis, witness testimony, and crowd-sourcing.

In Forensic Architecture, Eyal Weizman, the group’s founder, provides, for the first time, an in-depth introduction to the history, practice, assumptions, potentials, and double binds of this practice. The book includes an extensive array of images, maps, and detailed documentation that records the intricate work the group has performed.

Included in this volume are case studies that traverse multiple scales and durations, ranging from the analysis of the shrapnel fragments in a room struck by drones in Pakistan, the reconstruction of a contested shooting in the West Bank, the architectural recreation of a secret Syrian detention center from the memory of its survivors, a blow-by-blow account of a day-long battle in Gaza, and an investigation of environmental violence and climate change in the Guatemalan highlands and elsewhere.

Weizman’s Forensic Architecture, stunning and shocking in its critical narrative, powerful images, and daring investigations, presents a new form of public truth, technologically, architecturally, and aesthetically produced. Their practice calls for a transformative politics in which architecture as a field of knowledge and a mode of interpretation exposes and confronts ever-new forms of state violence and secrecy.”

Publisher Zone Books, New York, 2017
ISBN 9781935408864, 1935408860
355 pages

Reviews: Regine Debatty (We Make Money Not Art, 2017), Adam Rothstein (New Scientist, 2017), Sława Harasymowicz (Journal of Visual Culture, 2017), David Huber (Artforum, 2017), Joseph Confavreux (Mediapart, 2017, FR), Felix Bazalgette (New York Review of Books, 2018), Martina Tazzioli (Radical Philosophy, 2018), Noah Chasin (Springerin, 2018), Bernard Hay (Review 31, 2018), Anna Altman (n+1, 2018), Viktoriya Yeretska (BauNetz, 2017, DE), Erick Villagomez (Spacing, 2017), Andreas Petrossiants (Brooklyn Rail, 2018).

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Cultural Anthropology: Lessons for Liberalism from the “Illiberal East” (2018)

29 April 2018, dusan

“The cumulative effects of Brexit, the resurgence of populist politics in Europe, and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States have given rise to the perception that Western liberal democracies are undergoing profound change, if not a bona fide crisis. Moreover, there is a sense that it is the political liberalism of the post–Cold War period—rather than its far less popular companion ideology of neoliberalism—that finds itself in disarray. As scholars and commentators rummage through their intellectual toolboxes for explanatory frameworks, many are turning to (post)socialist histories and experiences as heuristic devices for making sense of the upheavals in Western politics. In this Hot Spots series, we suggest that the postsocialist transition, as both discursive space and set of practices that attempted to make capitalists out of socialists and liberals out of totalitarians, renders the former socialist world a rich site for understanding the current shifts in the Western political landscape. We aim to make sense of this landscape in a way that is attuned to both long-term processes and to the state of emergency reinforced with each new wave of current events. Even though the ground appears to be constantly shifting beneath our feet, these essays insist that detailed, historically and geopolitically sensitive analysis of actually existing post–Cold War liberalisms is one key approach for making sense of the present.”

Edited by Dace Dzenovska and Larisa Kurtović
Publisher Society for Cultural Anthropology, Apr 2018
Hot Spots series
ISSN 1548-1360

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Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015)

27 March 2018, dusan

“Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world—and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made?

A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.

By investigating one of the world’s most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.”

Publisher Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2015
ISBN 0691162751, 9780691162751
xii+331 pages

Reviews: Stefan Helmreich (Am Ethnologist, 2016), Eleana J. Kim (Current Anthropology, 2016), Emily Yates-Doerr (Medicine Anthropology Theory, 2016), James P. Verinis (Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment, 2016), PD Smith (The Guardian, 2017), Joshua A. Bell (Anthropological Q, 2017), William E. O’Brien (AAG Review of Books, 2018), Jason Cons (J Asian Studies, 2016), Jim Igoe (Am Anthropologist, 2016), Eugene N. Anderson (Ethnobiology Letters, 2015), Justine Williams (Transforming Anthropology, 2016), Brandon Bodenstein (Anthropology and Humanism, 2017), Hjorleifur Jonsson (Asia Pacific J Anthropology, 2017), Danya Glabau (J Cultural Economy, 2017), Sian Sullivan (Dialogues in Human Geography, 2018).

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