Forensic listening

James Parker


How might machine listening and AI be used as technologies of resistance? One answer lies in rendering sound a witness and a form of evidence through counter-forensic investigations undertaken by institutions such as Forensic Architecture. Counter-forensics can be defined as “a civil practice that seeks to invert the institutionalized forensic gaze, with individuals and organizations taking over the means of evidence production, and turning the state’s means against the violence it commits. It puts forward a new FORENSIS in which civil society groups use a variety of scientific and aesthetic means to produce and present evidence in the pursuit of public accountability.” Traversing domains of art, law, research and activism, Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work has been at the forefront of sonic counter-forensics. Whether it be analyzing the January 2024 targeting of Gazan civilians by the Israeli army in Khan Younis, forensically reenacting the murder of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli Occupation Forces in 2022, or questioning the voice analysis of refugees and asylum seekers for accent detection at the EU borders, Hamdan’s and Forensic Architecture’s work has offered an aesthetic and juridical counter-audition to the seemingly ubiquitous ear of the violent state.


Browse the website of Earshot. Pick up a featured investigation. Observe the methods used for forensic analysis as well as its aesthetic and legal dimensions. Compare the forensic analysis with official and statist accounts of the event.


  1. Forensic Architecture Website - By Methodology - Audio Analysis
  2. Lawrence Abu Hamdan Website
  3. Earshot Website
  4. Lawrence Abu Hamdan. “Aural Contract.” In Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, edited by Forensic Architecture, 65-82. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014.
  5. James Parker and Lawrence Abu Hamdan, ‘Forensic Listening as Machine Listening’, Disclaimer (2021)