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Video Days Spotlight: Forensic Architecture 04 April 2018

Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, who undertake advanced architectural and media research on behalf of international prosecutors, human rights organisations and political and environmental justice groups. Forensic architecture is also an emergent academic field developed at Goldsmiths, which refers to the production and presentation of architectural evidence – buildings and urban environments and their media representations.

In recent years FA has successfully tested its methodologies in a number of landmark legal and human rights cases undertaken together with and on behalf of threatened communities, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), prosecutors and the United Nations (UN).

77sqm_9:26min, 2016, (27:23 mins)
Screening: Saturday 21 April, 11 am – 3 pm
Showing every 30 mins (free, no prior booking required).

Commissioned by the ‘Unraveling the NSU Complex’ people’s tribunal; Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt (HKW); Initiative 6 April; and documenta14.

Shortly after 17:00 on the 6 April 2006, Halit Yozgat, 21 years old, was murdered while attending the reception counter of his family run Internet café in Kassel, Germany. His was the ninth of ten racist murders committed by a neo-Nazi group known as the National Socialist Underground or NSU across Germany between 2000 and 2007. 

At the time of the killing, an intelligence officer named Andreas Temme was present in the shop. Temme was at the time an employee of the State Office for Constitutional Protection (Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz), the domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Hessen. Temme did not disclose this fact to the police, but was later identified from his internet records.

In his interrogation by the police, and in the subsequent NSU trial in Munich, Temme denied being a witness to the incident, and claimed not to have noticed anything out of the ordinary. The court accepted his testimony. It determined that Temme was present at the back room of the internet café at the time of the murder. It also accepted that from his position in the shop it was possible not to have witnessed the killing.

Within the 77 square meters of the Internet café and the 9:26 minutes of the incident, different actors crossed paths — members of migrant communities, a state employee and the murderers — and were architecturally disposed in relation to each other. The shop was thus a microcosm of the entire social and political controversy that makes the ‘NSU Complex’.

In November 2016, eleven years after the murder, an alliance of civil society organisations known as ‘Unraveling the NSU Complex’ commissioned Forensic Architecture to investigate Temme’s testimony and determine whether it could be truthful.


A composite of Forensic Architecture’s physical and virtual reconstructions of the internet cafe in which the murder of Halit Yozgat on 6 April 2006 occurred. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2017


Simulated propagation of sound within a digital model of the internet café that was designed to mimic the exact dimensions and materials of the actual space. Image: Forensic Architecture and Anderson Acoustics, 2017.

 

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