A UK-based Israeli human rights activist using art, architecture and technology to highlight state violence has been barred from entering the United States to launch his latest exhibit.
Eyal Weizman of London-based research collective Forensic Architecture had been due to fly to Miami this week but was told by the US Embassy less than two days before his flight that his visa had been revoked.
When he visited the US Embassy in London the following day, he was told that “a security algorithm” had been triggered but the embassy officer could not know why. Weizman said he was then asked to disclose a detailed travel, contact and network history for the past 15 years, which he refused.
His visa experience was detailed in a letter read out at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design on Wednesday, where he should have been opening Forensic Architecture’s first major survey exhibition in the US, called ‘True to Scale.’
Forensic Architecture’s art exhibitions have been nominated for the Turner Prize but have annoyed the US and Israeli authorities by shedding new light on such things as CIA drone strikes in Pakistan or Chicago Police’s killing of a barber.
Weizman has also looked in detail at Israel’s bombing of Rafah, which he said had “informed the International Criminal Court’s recent decision to open an investigation into the possibility of Israeli war crimes” in the Palestinian territories.
Professor Ines Weizman, his partner, had also been due to travel to the US at the same time, together with the couples’ children, but he told the museum that she had been split up from their children at the airport and “interrogated for two and a half hours”.
In his letter to the college, he said the collective’s works “invert the forensic gaze and turn it against the actors – police, militaries, secret services, border agencies – that usually monopolise information, but in employing the counter-forensic gaze one is also exposed to higher-level monitoring by the very state agencies investigated”.