The forensic architects piecing together the story of war?

What can we learn with the aid of technology?

Around the world there are 10 wars are being fought, according to recent figures. That covers humanity’s most deadly clashes, but the figure rises to 49 if you count those state-based conflicts where ‘only’ 1,000 people or fewer have been killed in the past year. The captain’s share of all this fighting happens in cities.

Cities are a kind of beautiful mess, where mazes of streets tangle and millions of lives are played out on top of one another. That can make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on when conflict strikes. But it’s crucial to do so, not just because reliable records of war crimes can help bring the perpetrators to justice later, but because the story of what happens to a city and its inhabitants during wartime shouldn’t be forgotten.

One of the foremost experts at cataloguing what happens in urban warzones is Professor Eyal Weizman at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. In 2011, he founded the independent research group Forensic Architecture (FA). The organisation’s goal is to document human rights abuses around the world and now has a team of roughly 30 people.

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