Digital Violence

Forensic Architecture | LONDON

CC-10 | 2022 | Data Visualisation + Research + Editing

Inferstudio collaborated with Forensic Architecture to develop a platform for visualizing data from their investigation into claims of international hacking and digital espionage perpetrated by the Israeli cyber-intelligence company NSO. The data for the platform is based on fifteen months of open-source research that extracted data from hundreds of pages of documents as well as interviews with victims of state-sponsored digital espionage. The resulting platform offers the most comprehensive database to date (containing over a thousand data points) of reported phone infections with NSO spyware - Pegasus. 

We created a 3D virtual environment in which to represent digital attacks perpetuated with the Pegasus spyware. Our environment plots time in one dimension, arrays the list of targeted individuals in another, and separates them by the government they were targeted by in the third dimension. For each targeted individual, we plotted digital attacks (represented by blue sphere) and physical attacks (represented by red spheres), alongside contextual events such as records of corporate sales and meetings between NSO and governments.

The resulting environment is intended as a tool with which to research the constantly updated database of Pegasus attacks.

Alongside the environment itself,  we also created a series of films that deliver the stories of particular targets of NSO spyware.

The Digital Violence project acted as a common ground for bringing together many different media specialists. We worked with Laura Poitras - the documentary film-maker know for her film about Edward Snowden - Citizen 4. Edward Snowden also provided the narration for the films. The spatial platform was given a sonic dimension by the composer Brian Eno who produced a library of sounds to associate with each event type in the virtual space.

The project was exhibited at MAC Montreal, under the title 'Terror Contagion’.

More information about the exhibition here:
https://macm.org/en/exhibitions/terror-contagion/

More information about the Digital Violence  investigation here:
https://forensic-architecture.org/investigation/digital-violence-how-the-nso-group-enables-state-terror

TEAM

Forensic Architecture Team

Eyal Weizman (PI), Shourideh C. Molavi (Researcher-in-Charge), Nathan Su, Lola Conte, Zac Ionnaidis, Natalia Orendain, Riley Cavanaugh, Ariel Caine, Lachlan Kermode, Nour Abuzaid, Sergio Beltrán-Garcíam Christina Varvia, Robert Trafford, Elizabeth Breiner

Praxis Films

Laura Poitras

Video Editing

Bethany Edgoose + Nathan Su

Sound Design

Sarah Su

Video Narration

Edward Snowden

Data Sonification

Brian Eno

Supported by

Amnesty International, The Citizen Lab

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