EYAL WEIZMAN, FORENSIC AESTHETICS Monday Nov 14th, 14H, R 115
The last decades of the twentieth century, often referred to as ‘the era of the witness’, were saturated with representation of testimonies of trauma—written, recorded, filmed archived and exhibited. This primacy of trauma as a site of history also leads to a depoliticised ‘politics of compassion’ apparent in the forums of transitional justice, truth commissions, human rights and humanitarianism. However, a recent shift of emphasis from human testimony to material forensics means that science has begun invading some of the legal and cultural grounds previously reserved for the speech of humans. Potentially, therefore, at its most extreme, new ways of using forensic science have blurred a previously held distinction: between evidence, when the law speaks of objects, and that of the witness, referring to subjects. The lecture would shift between several cases– close analyses of different forensic investigations. it will start with an account of the examination in 1985 of the exhumed skull of joseph mengele. This object/fetish will explained one of the great scientific and epistemic problems for forensics in the close of the 20th century. It is a historical hinge around which the turn to forensics in human rights context occurs. The lecture will be recorded. Eyal Weizman is an architect; director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and of the ERC funded research project Forensic Architecture.
HITO STEYERL, MISSING PEOPLE: The Bodies of Images
If forensic sciences revolve around images of bodies, or, more precisely, the matching of images to bodies, how can we conceive of the bodies of images? What is a forensic investigation of the image itself? How to equally think of objects – such as bones or landscapes – as images or monads, which condense forces, desires and strata of time? How can we untangle the same forces and sediments within 2D images and understand the bruises and glitches of the image as evidence of political and social violence?
The thing that is often, but not always missing from the image is the body it represents. But what is the state of missing? How does it relate to indeterminacy and limbo? How does it speak to the failure to match a body to an image, a skull to a face, a bone to a name, a crime to a case? And how are these mismatches represented within the bodies of images?
Cast: Andrea Wolf, Erwin Schrödinger, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Elvis, Ernst Kantorowicz, General Franco and many others.