Public Lab Research note

PL with FA @ Venice Bienalle

by hagitkeysar | May 26, 2016 20:08 26 May 20:08 | #13143 | #13143

hagitkeysar was awarded the Basic Barnstar by arielcaine for their work in this research note.

I have had a really huge opportunity to join the work of the curator Debby Farber from the Israeli organization "Zochrot" and Eyal Weizman of Forensic Architecture that concerns the ongoing displacement of the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the south of Israel. Together with Ariel Caine - who is an artist and researcher in Goldsmith's Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths - we have worked with a few totally inspiring and resilient activists, Aziz al-Turi and Nuri al-Uqbi, from the village in creating kite and balloon aerial photography, which were processed by Ariel into 3D models, with the intention to produce vivid aerial testimonies of systemic violence and abuse of human rights. This work is now presented as part of Forensic Architecture's projects in the Venice Bienalle (The International/Italian Pavilion in the Giardini and the V&A Cast Courts at the Arsenale). There are four cases presented by FA, the investigations include 1) the drone strike in Miranshah, Pakistan March 30, 2012, 2) Israel's attack on Rafah/Gaza August 1, 2014, 3) the lethal effects of the EU 's policies of non-assistance in the central Mediterranean 2014-2015, and 4) displacement and environmental destruction along Climatic Frontiers al-Araqib/Palestine and Wede'rã/Brazil 2016. Above, the main image shows a sparse point cloud created by Ariel based on one of the kite/balloon surveys we conducted in the area of al-Araqib in last April.

Below you can see one of the light tables created by FA people, the one representing the forth case that includes the use of Public Lab's DIY aerial photography. It is high resolution, if you click the image you can see details. Case4.jpg

The forth case was also presented in a 30 minutes film, by Armin Linke, Alina Schmuch and Jan Kisswetter, from which I have extracted some image, below.

In the film, Eyal presents the two cases in Palestine and Brazil - two zones, two villages, one at the northern threshold of the Sahara, crossing Israel-Palestine and the other at the southern amazon area. In Palestine, it is a case of afforestation in order to push the desert and displace its inhabitant, while in Brazil it is the line of the forest which is being cleared to make agricultural fields. "In both we have native people that are being displaced". This image was taken while doing kite photography in the southern Amazon. As described by one of the researchers*, this area is going through processes of slow violence through "gradual degradation and destruction of the forest for logging, fire and conversion to pasture land and plantation". These intervention are "destroying the very condition of modes of lives that rely on the forest and sustain the forest itself and the people who live in it. The killing of the forest is the killing of the people. Killing of people is also the killing of the forest." Screen_Shot_2016-05-17_at_22.32.38.png

The image below, which was taken with a kite and a go-pro camera, captured the entire extent of the village. "You can see a small village of about ten homestead, it is a kind of a forest clearing within that area. It allows to start looking for those villages that has been destroyed and displaced. If you measure and take the form of the village you can start looking for the places that were destroyed from other parts of the forest. Screen_Shot_2016-05-17_at_21.56.03.png

The images below are showing the stitched aerial photograph we created and a moment during the flight of the kite camera in al Araqib. Screen_Shot_2016-05-17_at_21.59.21.png


  • Apologies, the names were not mentioned in the draft version of the film which I watched.

** Thanks for Ives Rocha and VJ pixel of Public Lab for assisting in figuring out logistics for carrying out the balloon and kite aerial photography in Brazil.


This is the first time I see kite photography and its quality exceeds the expectations I had. I thought only the drone is able to make high-quality photos from the sky with a GoPro but turns out the kite is the budget solution which can make us happy with some astounding photography. Sadly, we see forests being destroyed which means higher land pollution and more CO2 in the area which is really painful even for the reader, not to mention the people that have been displaced :( .

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Hi Stewart great to hear from you and thanks for you comment. Kite photography is definitely a good option for all sorts of cases, not only in terms of costs... take a look at the tools list under projects and if you try it out you can get a lot of support from the community. Good luck with your work, hagit

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