Citation

Knowing Remotely: Truth-Value and Truth-Politics at Saydnaya Prison

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Abstract:

In 2016, Amnesty International partnered with Forensic Architecture to produce a virtual three-dimensional model of the notorious Saydnaya Military Prison, located 30 km north of Damascus. At Saydnaya, an estimated 10,000-20,000 detainees are currently held in near darkness and enforced silence; their sense of their surroundings is largely limited to audible sounds – dripping water, clanking bowls, guards’ footsteps, and torture implements. With journalists and monitoring organizations barred from entry, the model relies on aerial satellite imagery and testimonies from former detainees to provide the first ever look into the complex. Significantly, acoustic and architectural modeling was combined in giving form to the prison. ‘Sound artefacts’ were used to trigger memories and recollections were matched with volume levels and ‘echo profiles,’ for instance, to infer dimensions and distances.

This paper is concerned with how presently inaccessible spaces are or might be made ‘accessible’ to researchers, civil society organizations, and general audiences. Taking the Saydnaya prison as its case study, it asks: how have modeling technologies been leveraged to produce knowledge of Saydnaya remotely? What are the contending claims over the truthfulness of the modeling process and truth-value of the model? How are the subjectivity of testimony and the goal of an objective model reconciled? And finally, how do these truth claims map onto the politics surrounding the Syrian conflict? To tackle this, the paper draws on and seeks to contribute to scholarship on truth and evidence in STS, forensic architecture, media theory, human rights, and recent Syrian history.

Author's Keywords:

Modeling, Forensics, Truth, Politics, Syria
Convention
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Association:
Name: 4S Annual Meeting
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http://www.4sonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1274180_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Christidi, Nadia. "Knowing Remotely: Truth-Value and Truth-Politics at Saydnaya Prison" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA, Aug 30, 2017 <Not Available>. 2018-06-18 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1274180_index.html>

APA Citation:

Christidi, N. , 2017-08-30 "Knowing Remotely: Truth-Value and Truth-Politics at Saydnaya Prison" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA <Not Available>. 2018-06-18 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1274180_index.html

Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In 2016, Amnesty International partnered with Forensic Architecture to produce a virtual three-dimensional model of the notorious Saydnaya Military Prison, located 30 km north of Damascus. At Saydnaya, an estimated 10,000-20,000 detainees are currently held in near darkness and enforced silence; their sense of their surroundings is largely limited to audible sounds – dripping water, clanking bowls, guards’ footsteps, and torture implements. With journalists and monitoring organizations barred from entry, the model relies on aerial satellite imagery and testimonies from former detainees to provide the first ever look into the complex. Significantly, acoustic and architectural modeling was combined in giving form to the prison. ‘Sound artefacts’ were used to trigger memories and recollections were matched with volume levels and ‘echo profiles,’ for instance, to infer dimensions and distances.

This paper is concerned with how presently inaccessible spaces are or might be made ‘accessible’ to researchers, civil society organizations, and general audiences. Taking the Saydnaya prison as its case study, it asks: how have modeling technologies been leveraged to produce knowledge of Saydnaya remotely? What are the contending claims over the truthfulness of the modeling process and truth-value of the model? How are the subjectivity of testimony and the goal of an objective model reconciled? And finally, how do these truth claims map onto the politics surrounding the Syrian conflict? To tackle this, the paper draws on and seeks to contribute to scholarship on truth and evidence in STS, forensic architecture, media theory, human rights, and recent Syrian history.


Similar Titles:
Who's Afraid of Absolute Truth: Conflict Perception and Value Spheres in International Politics

Reframing the Struggle to Free Black Political Prisoners: Mutulu Shakur’s Proposal on International Truth Processes and Cointelpro


 
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