Computational Art and Witnessing / Week 16 / 23-2-2021

See Nishat Awan‘s Digital Narratives and Witnessing

The article explores some of the geographies of crisis and conflict that have become increasingly visible through the use of digital technologies. It attends to the visual politics embedded within such images, whether these are photographs and videos shared through social media or maps produced on platforms such as Google Earth. It also discusses recent practices of spatial analysis that use a forensic approach. Through focusing on the Pakistani city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, my aim is to reveal the complex layered narrative that emerges out of and about such a place through processes of visualization. Gwadar oscillates between an anticipated role as a strategic regional port and the present reality of being positioned at the periphery. By working through these narratives, I explore what type of ethical spatial engagement is possible with such places that are often constructed as out-of-bounds by governments and nonstate actors.

Foucault’s prison model, in his book “Surveiller et punir”
The abandoned Presidio Modelo complex (The Guardian, 1995)
Plan of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon prison, drawn by Willey Reveley in 1791

Birkenau extermination complex, in Oswiecim, Poland.
This photograph is one of the first examples in photography history in which a photo is used to investigate a crime (in this case the Holocaust).

Forensic architecture uses open-source videos and compiles them to make a disaster more legible and understandable (from the viewpoint of multiple witnesses).