Optical Tactics for Spatial Justice in the Works of Forensic Architecture and Hito Steyerl



The optical tools of technical image order the spatial matrix across subjects and objects, individual bodies, and possible threats to be targeted. The abyss between the image of the world produced by the all-seeing optical tools and the reality lived on the ground is sustained by the asymmetry of vision. This paper aims to analyse the capacities of the techno-judicial image in the ordering of the world and the bodies inhabiting this world through a close reading of Hito Steyerl’s and Forensic Architecture’s (FA) works. The optical tools of technological vision are increasingly employed as the main means of recording, monitoring, and reordering space, under the restrictions imposed by law as well as the technological limitations. In an economy of visibility, where the ability to see without being seen is the ultimate form of power, the selected works by Steyerl and FA unravel the technical image as an efficacious tool in the distribution of space, and in return, with their work, they aspire to shift the axis of visibility against the dominant order in search of spatial injustice.

Keywords: visibility, documentary, spatial justice, power, truth

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2022.1.4


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