Forensic Architecture founder denied entry to U.S.

Eyal Weizman. Courtesy Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow

Eyal Weizman, the founder of Forensic Architecture, has had his U.S. visa revoked. In the a blog for the London Review of Books, the Turner Prize nominee, who was travelling to America for the opening of the practice's first major survey exhibition in the country, at the Museum of Art and Design in Miami, says he was informed of the decision last Tuesday by email. On attending a meeting at the American embassy in London, Weizman was told an algorithm had identified him as a security threat. An official told him the computer may have flagged him due to 'places to which I had travelled (had I recently been in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia or met their nationals?), hotels at which I stayed, or a certain pattern of relations among these things.'

Forensic Architecture's projects include investigations into alleged human rights abuses in Palestine, Syria, Mexico and Germany. The Miami show featured a new investigation by the practice, among whose number included architects, artists, journalists and researchers, of alleged abuse of migrant children at a Florida detention centre.

Weizman was asked to provide 15 years of travel history and that 'investigators could assess my case more promptly if I supplied the names of anyone in my network whom I believed might have triggered the algorithm.' Weizman declined. The architect also notes that his wife, Ines Weizman, who travelled to America earlier for her own speaking engagements, was separated from their children whom she was travelling with and interviewed for over two hours at JFK airport before being granted entry. 

20 February 2020