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Review: Forensic Architecture’s “Sheikh Jarrah: Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem” digital platform

Jerusalem24– Forensic Architecture has released an interactive urban narrative exploring the policies and practices imposed on Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in a bid to displace them from East Jerusalem.

Forensic Architecture “uses architecture as an optical device to investigate armed conflicts and environmental destruction, as well as to cross-reference a variety of evidence sources, such as new media, remote sensing, material analysis, witness testimony, and crowd-sourcing,” according to Eyal Weizmann, founder of Forensic Architecture.

The platform released by Forensic Architecture is formed of a collection of multiple topics including a general introduction to the ongoing situation, the house of El-Kurd family, the street, the neighborhood, the city, and finally the land.

The platform itself consists of a scroll-down web page that shows those topics in the same order, with detailed information, photos, and highlighted map locations, allowing the user to delve into each topic in-depth.

With this well-researched, collective “urban narrative,” Forensic Architecture has successfully created a tool for information-gathering, comprehensively explaining the timeline of events that have occurred over the past year.

The situation in Sheikh Jarrah, with the El-Kurd twins at its epicenter, has garnered a lot of international attention. The platform presents to an international audience, for whom it may be difficult to imagine how a single settler family living in one house on one street could have such an impact on the fabric and life of the entire neighborhood, with an opportunity to really immerse themselves in the neighborhood and the colonizer/colonized dynamic, and visualize the collective challenges of the Palestinian inhabitants, both daily and long-term.

Below are some screenshots from the platform. Check out the full experience on their website through the link.

Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem are fragmented by settlements, roads, and the apartheid wall. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2022 with satellite image from Mapbox [ FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE, 2022]
Historic image of Sheikh Jarrah Neighbourhood. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2022 with photograph from The Library of Congress, 1931[ FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE, 2022]
Maryam Ghawi’s house was occupied by settlers in 2009. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2022 with photograph from Twitter, 27 May 2021[ FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE, 2022]

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