Liquid Traces at Mosaic Rooms

Lorenzo Pezzani presented his [and Charles Heller’s] work on the Liquid Traces project at Goldsmiths department of Forensic Architecture, which utilises satellite and mapping technologies to investigate cases of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean sea, as part of a demand for accountability for these deaths.


  • forensic oceanography – investigates deaths of migrants
  •  ‘left to die boat’ – 63 died, 9 lived. Boat spent 14 days drifting in some of the most surveyed waters in the world, but were not rescued.
  • remote sensing tools repurposed to find evidence of guilt
  • themes of visibility and transparency
  • each ‘incident’ of deaths at sea provokes calls for more surveillance and militarisation, but the cause of the migrant sea journeys is the strict visa regulations and lack of mobility.
  • smugglers only exist because of policies of enclosure
  • policies create the environment for crimes to go unchallenged. institutional crime.
  • disobedient gaze – show the violence of border regimes but try not to expose migrant routes
  • structural and infrastructural violence
  • policies of non-assistance
  • ‘pull factor’ – argument that rescuing ships encourages more journeys
  • Mare Nostrum boat, operation Triton, Frontex

This talk was really interesting. I was interested in the accusatory tone of the film/research that Pezzani presented, in that it is refreshing to see the use of data/mapping/technologies/research in an explicitly political way rather than just the dry presentation of facts.



Liquid Traces – The Left-to-Die Boat Case from charles heller on Vimeo.


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