‘Black Friday': Carnage in Rafah During 2014 Israel/Gaza Conflict

Black Friday

The new and final Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International interactive report on Israel’s offensive on Gaza last summer is available today:

“Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture worked with a number of field researchers and photographers who documented sites where incidents took place using protocols for forensic photography. Forensic Architecture located elements of witness testimonies in space and time and plotted the movement of witnesses through a three-dimensional model of urban spaces. It also modelled and animated the testimony of several witnesses, combining spatial information obtained from separate testimonies and other sources in order to reconstruct incidents. Three satellite images of the area, dated 30 July, 1 August and 14 August, were obtained and analysed in detail; the image of 1 August reveals a rare overview of a moment within the conflict. Forensic Architecture also retrieved a large amount of audiovisual material on social media and employed digital maps and models to locate evidence such as oral description, photography, video and satellite imagery in space and time. When audiovisual material from social media came with inadequate metadata, Forensic Architecture used time indicators in the image, such as shadow and smoke plumes analysis, to locate sources in space and time.”

Léopold Lambert on Gaza and Photographic Evidence

Gaza Mushroom cloudLéopold Lambert discusses Gaza, photographic evidence, and the forthcoming report on “Operation Protective Edge” produced by Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International at The Funambulist:

We should however not forget that the crime of the Israeli government and its army against Gaza is not temporally circumscribed to its regular bombings and its three operations in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014. As written in the past (see “The Continuous Siege“), the latter are ‘only’ the manifestation of an extreme and spectacular violence that tends to obliterate for the external viewer, the normal forms of violence that the territorial organization of Gaza continuously manufactures. In other words, the dark cloud of smoke that Google Earth show us hides (almost literally) the 70 kilometers of wall that incarcerate the Gaza Strip. Any aerial photograph of the Gaza Strip of these last 15 years will clearly show the scar of Apartheid, separating the Israeli well-irrigated agriculture from Gaza’s dry land to a point that the Strip’s limits can be recognized at any scale even by a non-alerted viewer (see photograph below). As Weizman argues in his latest book, The Conflict Shoreline (Steidl 2015), written in association with Fazal Sheikh‘s photographs of the Negev (more on that soon), the surface of the earth itself can be considered as a photographic surface from which evidences can be collected.

Law, Geography, and the Doctrine of Hot Pursuit in the U.S. War on Terror

War Power, Police Power

Nathalie Weizmann discusses the intersections of law and geography in the U.S. War on Terror at Just Security. Of note to readers who may have had the opportunity to watch Mark Neocleus‘ presentation at last week’s “Reconfiguring Global Space: The Geography, Politics, and Ethics of Drone Warfare” in Bloomington, IN, is the emphasis placed here on the legality of doctrines of hot pursuit. As Neocleus noted in his talk, “Chasing Down the Bad Guys: Hot Pursuit and the Police of International Order,” drone warfare needs to be situated within a broader context of police power that is increasingly defined by a doctrine of hot pursuit. Through conflict ‘spillover,’ territorial distinctions are legally and spatially eroded in the U.S. War on Terror, calling into question the boundaries between war power and police power and the very meaning of sovereignty in the contemporary global order. For further reading on what Neocleus outlines as the historical continuities rather than distinctions between war power and police power, see his latest book by the same name: War Power, Police Power (2014).  For a succinct look at the legal debates around transnational conflict in international and humanitarian law, check out Weizmann’s full article, “A Drone Strike and the Debate on the Geography of the War Against al-Qaeda and its Associates” at Just Security.

“Smell Maps” of Major Cities

A group of people are creating “smell maps” for major cities across the globe. The article includes the London and Barcelona maps, along with the “aroma wheel” developed to create the maps. For those of us interested in Lefebvre’s fascination with sensory experiences and memories of space, this is a particularly interesting article!

"smell map" of London

“smell map” of London