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Forensic Architecture to represent UK at second London Design Biennale

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An ’emotionally arresting’ installation by the Turner Prize-nominated Forensic Architecture collective has been announced as the UK’s exhibit for the second London Design Biennale

The in-demand investigative team – which uses pioneering architectural techniques to gather evidence on human rights violations – will collaborate on a pavilion curated by the V&A museum for the exhibition at Somerset House from 4 to 23 September. 

Responding to the theme ‘Emotional States’, this year’s biennale will include interactive installations, artwork and designs from 35 countries and cities across the world.

Forensic Architecture, a 15-strong collective based at Goldsmiths University, will exhibit work from its new investigation in the Sinjar area of Iraq, where it is training Yazidi people to collect evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State.

This evidence includes reconstructed 3D models of the sites destroyed by Islamic State made using aerial photography and photogrammetry.

This painstaking work will form the basis of an ’emotionally arresting’ installation with exhibits to include the objects used to train Iraqi citizens made from kites, plastic bottles and helium balloons.

In addition, it will explore the role digital cultural preservation has played in communities that have recently experienced trauma.

Eyal Weizman, who founded Forensic Architecture in 2010, said: ‘Forensic Architecture is delighted to collaborate with the Design, Architecture and Digital Department at the V&A to produce an exhibit for London Design Biennale.

’The research project that will be displayed is also an important piece of evidence that will hopefully help bring the perpetrators of these war crimes to account.’

Natalie Kane and Brendan Cormier, V&A co-curators of the exhibition, added that they were ‘thrilled’ to bring the research-based practice’s new investigation to the biennale.

They said: ‘This project continues the V&A’s exploration of digital reconstruction and cultural heritage,and interrogates the role that digital design can have in society today. Forensic Architecture are world-leaders in this discipline, and we look forward to our collaboration.’

In the past 18 months, Forensic Architecture’s public profile has grown dramatically following an exhibition of its work at the Institute of Contemporary Art (closing 13 May), which follows a number of other gallery exhibitions and finally culminated in its Turner Prize nomination.

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