Investigative Aesthetics
Conflicts and Commons in the Politics of Truth
Part of the Futures series
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272 pages / August 2021 / 9781788739085
August 2021 / 9781788739092

A new field of counterinvestigation in journalism, human rights, art and law

Today, artists are engaged in investigation. They probe corruption, human rights violations, environmental crimes and technological domination. At the same time, areas not usually thought of as artistic make powerful use of aesthetics. Journalists and legal professionals pore over opensource videos and satellite imagery to undertake visual investigations. This combination of diverse fields is what the authors call “investigative aesthetics”: the mobilisation of sensibilities associated with art, architecture and other such practices in order to speak truth to power.

Investigative Aesthetics draws on theories of knowledge, ecology and technology; evaluates the methods of citizen counter-forensics, micro-history and art; and examines radical practices such as those of WikiLeaks, Bellingcat, and Forensic Architecture. These new practices take place in the studio and the laboratory, the courtroom and the gallery, online and in the streets, as they strive towards the construction of a new common sense.

Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman have here provided an inspiring introduction to a new field that will change how we understand and confront power today.

To Nour Abuzaid for your brilliance, perseverance, and unshaken belief in the liberation of Palestine.


“A fascinating treatise on how our political world functions today and how we might seek to interrupt it.”

“Expansive … [Fuller and Weizman] explore sense and sense-making in its fullest political terms: understanding the systemic forces of capitalism as well as an individual’s sense of morality.”

“Sharp … [Investigative Aesthetics] is invaluable as a hyper-aesthetic object itself.”

“Aesthetics is a battleground, a contested space; Investigative Aesthetics is part battle-plan or tactical guide and, more fundamentally, part user’s manual for surviving this beautiful and terrifying world.”

“An undeviating announcement of the subversive potential of contemporary aesthetic practices.”

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