Matthew Fuller

Oct 19, 2021

Investigative Aesthetics

Conflicts and Commons in the Politics of Truth

Verso Books 2021

Today, journalists, legal professionals, activists, and artists challenge the state's monopoly on investigation and the production of narratives of truth. They probe corruption, human rights violations, environmental crimes, and technological domination. Organisations such as WikiLeaks, Bellingcat, or Forensic Architecture pore over open-source videos and satellite imagery to undertake visual investigations. This combination of diverse fields is what Fuller and Weizman call 'investigative aesthetics': the mobilisation of sensibilities associated with art, architecture, and other such practices in order to challenge power.

Investigative Aesthetics draws on theories of knowledge, ecology and technology; evaluates the methods of citizen counter-forensics, micro-history and art. These new practices take place in the studio and the laboratory, the courtroom and the gallery, online and in the streets, as they strive towards the construction of a new common sense.

Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman speak to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the logics behind Forensic Architecture and the evidentiary turn: the aesthetics of distributed sensing, the investigative commons, and the condition of hyperaesthesia.

Matthew Fuller is a Professor of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Media Ecologies, and with Andrew Goffey, Evil Media.

Eyal Weizman is the founder and director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Hollow Land, The Least of All Possible Evils, and Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability.

Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.

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