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'Rethinking Aerial Testimonies by Public Lab' is the second programme of the serie 'Architecture and Investigative Journalism' and focus on the do-it-yourself aerial photography. This technique is as old as photography itself. However, there are material, political and technoscientific barriers that prevent the view from above being used in meaningful ways in citizen-driven investigations. A DIY technique developed by Public Lab using kites and balloons managed to address some of these obstacles, making this approach available for human rights activism and storytelling.

The technique was first used to monitor the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, providing information and imagery to help circumvent a media blackout and today, Public Lab’s kit is being used around the world by activists, researchers and communities to investigate environmental justice issues. Could this technique be used as a collaborative form of truth-making in human rights contexts and as a tool for visual, spatial storytelling?

19:30 – 21:30
also this evening

18:00-19:30 Thursday Bite

19:30-21:00 Kick off Day of Architecture 2019 

19:30-21:30 Thursday Night Workshop- World Wilder Lab

20:00-21:00 Book presentation Graphic Assembly with Craig Buckley

Museum is free of charge from 17:00 to 21:00


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7,50
Students, CJP, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75

This talk will focus on two case studies in Lebanon and Israel/Palestine that demonstrate the use of DIY aerial photography as visual testimony for articulating and asserting rights in struggles over land, space and place. The distinctive politics of the DIY testimony will be presented here vis-à-vis other forms of aerial testimonies and unpacked through its particular experimental and embodied qualities. This talk argues for the exploration of and experimentation with the potentials of civic technoscience as a way of materializing counter-dominant visual practices in human-rights activism. Furthermore, it will expand on the use of self-built instruments in the course of fieldwork for developing a “technologically engaged ethnography” that opens opportunities for alternative forms of knowledge co-production by means of experimental technological practice and engagement.

Workshop Do-It-Yourself Aerial Photography

On 15/06/2019 10:00-17:00 and 16/06/2019 10:00-17:00 Het Nieuwe Instituut hosts a two day practical workshop on building camera rigs, capturing aerial imagery using kites and balloons, as well as processing those images to create geo-rectified aerial photographs.

Hagit Keysar

Hagit Keysar lives and works in Israel/Palestine, her research is practice-based and brings together visual work, activism and critical theory. In her PhD thesis she critically examined the political potential of civic/community science and open-source practices in situations of civic inequalities and human rights violations. She is currently (April 2019) a Postdoc fellow of the Minerva Stiftung in Berlin, exploring the politics of citizen-driven uses of drones by indigenous and grassroots human rights activists.

Alison Killing

Alison Killing is an architect and urban designer working to engage people with their built environment, via design of buildings and urban strategies, film making, exhibitions and events. She explores the relationship between death and modern architecture, looking at how cities are rebuilt after disaster.

Pablo Rey Mazón

Pablo Rey Mazón works in the intersection of academy, art and activism. His work is related to the opening, analysis and visualization of complex data from a critical approach, covering a diversity of topics such as corruption, waste, touristification or school segregation using collaborative research and free software as tools. He develops his activity in Montera34 and Basurama collectives, of which he is co-founder and participates in other initiatives such as: Publiclab, a open-source community about citizen DIY science where he learnt kite mapping; WIEGO, supporting waste picker networks; or Wikitoki. He lives, in Bilbao, Spain.

Architecture and Investigative Journalism series

This talk is part of a lecture and workshop series on architecture and investigative journalism, curated by Alison Killing together with Het Nieuwe Instituut. The program gives an overview of the current state of this emerging field through a series of talks by leading practitioners; develops practical skills through in-depth workshops; and builds professional links between architects and journalists to enable future collaborations. 

Architectural and spatial analysis tools have been critical in a series of recent groundbreaking investigative journalism projects: from the New York Times investigation into last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, to Bellingcat’s investigation into who was responsible for the shooting down of the MH17 flight over Ukraine, to Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography's work on search and rescue for migrants in the southern Mediterranean. These tools enable investigations to be carried out that would not have been possible in the past. While Architecture could be an asset to journalism, two circumstances stand in the way of these approaches being adopted more widely - the two professional groups often don't interact, and there is a (relatively small) skill gap that needs to be bridged. This series addresses both conditions.

The architecture, investigative journalism and documentary series will explore how an architect’s skills (design, ability to think in three dimensions, technical drawing and 3d modelling, visual representation and analysis) can be used to support journalistic and documentary practice – to investigate and tell stories that are in the public interest. The series, starting in spring 2019, will cover the range of activities involved in investigating and communicating a story, from gathering evidence, to its processing, analysis and communication. For each event, a world-class practitioner will be invited to give an evening lecture, followed by a hands-on workshop to share tools and methods with students and professionals in relevant fields - architects, digital designers, journalists and documentary makers, among others.

This project is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL

Learn more about the last lecture and workshop 'Counting the Uncounted' by Airwars

Thursday Bite

Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:00 Het Nieuwe Café will serve a light vegetarian meal. Dinner vouchers are available for € 7.70 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link.

Become a Member

Become a Member of Het Nieuwe Instituut and you’ll support our mission to navigate the vast and evolving field of design. You’ll also be inspired by our special program of Members’ events, meeting up with other like-minded people as we invite you to reflect with us on design’s changing role in technology, economics, culture and society.

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.