Exhibition Lecture | Beyond the Frame

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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Site model of Timbuktu, Mali and reconstructed [situated] panorama capture [visual evidentiary asset], utilized for the International Criminal Court (2019).

Site model of Timbuktu, Mali and reconstructed [situated] panorama capture [visual evidentiary asset], utilized for the International Criminal Court (2019).

This event will be held in person in room 315F in conjunction with Beyond the Frame, an exhibition of recent projects by SITU Research.

Never have the facts been more elusive. It is not necessarily that they are harder to determine, but rather, harder to agree upon. What do we consider to be a reliable source? How can we think about justice in the context of a fractured landscape of information?

This talk will examine the pursuit of facts through a series of case studies exploring war crimes in Ukraine, gender-based violence in Mali, and the suppression of dissent by police forces in the United States. All of this will be contextualized within the increasingly critical role the designer plays at the nexus of design, technology, and human rights. The presentation will focus on emerging forms of fact-finding, coupled with an examination of the changing nature of evidence–from the deluge of citizen-generated video to the muli-perspectival capture and event reconstruction of contested events.

Fact-finding is often described as searching for the signal within the noise. What does the sheer amount of noise portend for the future of democracy and dissent, and how does the education of an architect prepare us to take on this question?

The presentation will be followed by a discussion moderated by Mersiha Veledar. 

Brad Samuels AR'05 is a founding partner at SITU, an unconventional architecture practice based in New York City that uses design, research and fabrication for creative and social impact. He is responsible for strategic oversight and directs SITU’s research division which focuses on the intersection of design, human rights and technology.

SITU Research merges data and design to create new pathways for justice. SITU's work mobilizes an arsenal of technologies to identify and surface critical evidence and then shape it into a narrative, driven by transparent, accurate sourcing. The work supports activists, advocates, and lawyers, bridging the gap between digital evidence and the communities that can best deploy them towards justice and accountability. Samuels has overseen the team’s visual investigations for legal and advocacy organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The Associated Press, UNITAD (the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL) and many others.

Outside the multidisciplinary practice, Samuels sits on the Technology Advisory Board for the International Criminal Court, The Advisory Board for the Carnegie Mellon's Center for Human Rights Science, the Advisory Board for Dartmouth's Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Just Communities and the board of The Architectural League of New York. He is a Fellow with the Urban Design Forum and teaches a The Cooper Union and Barnard/Columbia University. 

Gauri Bahuguna is a computational designer and researcher based in New York. In her current role at SITU Research, Gauri makes complex human rights cases accessible to wider audiences by wrangling large and diverse datasets into visually compelling interactive web platforms or videos. Gauri holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Columbia University, New York (2017) and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University’s GSAPP (2020).

This event is open to current Cooper Union students, faculty, and staff only. 

View the full Fall 2022 Lectures and Events List. 

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