On Sept. 4, 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Forensic Architecture ( Goldsmiths, University of London), and Yazda: Global Yazidi Organization open the exhibition “Maps of Defiance: Documenting the Genocide of the Yazidi People in Northern Iraq”, representing the UK at the London Design Biennale 2018.
Maps of Defiance is the first stage of a collaborative project in which researchers from Yazda, based in Northern Iraq, are trained in Forensic Architecture’s visual and spatial documentation methods. The aim of this project is to gather evidence for potential future legal processes in which charges could be brought against members of ISIL (also known as the Islamic State, ISIS, or Da’esh) for the 2014 genocide, including extensive destruction of cultural heritage perpetrated against the Yazidi people of the Sinjar area.
This stage of the project addresses the systematic destruction of heritage, focusing specifically on eight temples and mausoleums that were destroyed as part of the genocide against the Yazidis.
This exhibition presents the training process undertaken in Turkey, and the field work undertaken in Northern Iraq. Evidence for this destruction lies in areas still scattered with booby traps and landmines, necessitating a form of ‘documentation at a distance’ that relies on an aerial survey conducted using drones, and cameras attached to kites.
This effort to preserve evidence—an emergency archaeology of the present — demonstrates the role that contemporary design techniques and technologies can play in assisting communities who have recently experienced trauma and loss.
The exhibition will be open at the London Design Biennale from 4–23 September 2018. Tickets can be booked at www.londondesignbiennale.com.
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