Meet Forensic Architecture, the architectural nominees of the 2018 Turner Prize shortlist

Meet Forensic Architecture, the architectural nominees of the 2018 Turner Prize shortlist

A recent, major exhibition at the ICA brought the work of Forensic Architecture to a wider audience; and today’s 2018 Turner Prize shortlist announcement confirmed it – Eyal Weizman and his team are onto something big. From their academic base at Goldsmiths, University of London, Forensic Architecture brings together a captivating mix of research, spatial studies, design and politics that made it to the shortlist of one of the world’s most coveted art accolades.

A 15-strong collective, the Forensic Architecture team consists of architects, artists and a variety of other disciplines, such as filmmakers, software developers, archaeologists, lawyers, journalists. Their investigations delve into how a building, or a space, can reveal clues that can be uncovered; in the same way a criminal pathologist examines a body to determine cause of death. Their innovative ways of design and image reading and analysis allow for a different way of documenting and preserving buildings and history. The practice’s explorations reach far and wide, including sites and events in Germany, Greece and Israel. 

‘The jury praised Forensic Architecture for developing highly innovative methods for sourcing and visualising evidence relating to human rights abuses around the world, used in courts of law as well as exhibitions of art and architecture’, explains Tate Britain, in an earlier announcement.

This is not the first time the Turner Prize turns its attentions to architecture; Assemble’s 2015 win was the first similar case, paving the way for further nominations from the field.

The ICA show, ‘Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture’, preceded by a participation at the prestigious Documenta 14 art exhibition in Athens, gave the Turner jury enough reason to nominate the ground-breaking team, but their work is far from over. Coming up this September, Forensic Architecture will represent the UK in the second edition of London’s Design Biennale at Somerset House. The team ‘will support and train members of the Yazidi people to collect, document and preserve evidence of destruction, genocide and enslavement perpetrated by Daesh (Islamic State) against the Yazda’, explain the organisers.

The 2018 Turner Prize winner will be announced during a dedicated ceremony in December. 'Exhibitions are important forums for making public crucial evidence of human rights violations and their production is an opportunity to support cases and causes', says Weizman. 'While it is an honour to have been chosen by such an important cultural institution as the V&A to represent the UK at the London Design Biennale, and to be recognised as a nominee for the 2018 Turner Prize, it is also a great responsibility to use these opportunities to best serve our investigations and those most affected by the human rights issues therein.'