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Maps of Defiance

The V&A curated the UK entry and collaborated with UK-based Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, to design the UK pavilion. Forensic Architecture’s interdisciplinary team of investigators, including filmmakers, software developers, archaeologists, lawyers, journalists and architects, showed how innovative methods of digital design and image capture enabled on-the-ground DIY cultural heritage documentation and preservation.

Working in the Sinjar area of Iraq, Forensic Architecture worked alongside the NGO Yazda to support and train their researchers in the collection, documentation and preservation of evidence of the destruction, genocide and enslavement perpetrated by Daesh (Islamic State) against the Yazidi people. 3D models of the sites destroyed by Daesh were constructed using aerial photography and photogrammetry and served as valuable pieces of evidence for future litigation. The visually, intellectually and emotionally arresting installation proposed by Forensic Architecture responded to the theme of Emotional States by examining how design can directly inform new perspectives and lines of investigation.

The exhibition presented the process by which these images are collected and reconstructed, alongside the objects used in the training of Yazda’s researchers such as rigs made from kites, plastic bottles and drones. In addition, it explored the role digital cultural preservation has played in communities who have recently experienced trauma.


Design Team: Forensic Architecture with Yazda
Curators: Natalie Kane and Brendan Cormier (V&A)
Administering bodies: V&A; in collaboration with Art Jameel; supported by the British Council and Arts Council England