July 24, 2017 - Forensic Architecture - 77sqm_9:26min
e-flux Architecture
July 24, 2017
July 24, 2017

Forensic Architecture

A composite analog and digital model in which Forensic Architecture reconstructed Andreas Temme’s reenactment. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2017.

Counter-investigating the testimony of Andres Temme in relation to the murder of Halit Yozgat in Kassel, April 6, 2006


Shortly after 5pm on April 6, 2006, Halit Yozgat, 21 years old, was murdered while attending the reception counter of his family run internet café in Kassel, Germany. His was the ninth of ten racist murders performed by a neo-Nazi group known as the National Socialist Underground (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund, or NSU) across Germany between 2000 and 2007. The same gun used to kill Halit in 2006 was employed in the murders of Enver Şimşek (2000 in Nuremberg), Abdurrahim Özüdoğru (2001 in Nuremberg), Süleymann Taşköprü (2001 in Hamburg), Habil Kılıç (2001 in Munich), Mehmet Turgut (2004 in Rostock), İsmail Yaşar (2005 in Nuremberg), Theodoros Boulgarides (2005 in Munich), and Mehmet Kubaşık (2006 in Dortmund).

One month after Halit’s murder, his family came together with other NSU victims’ families to organize demonstrations in Kassel and Dortmund under the slogan “No 10th Victim.” Nearly 4,000 people attended. The families already understood and publically proclaimed that the series of murders were explicitly motivated by racism. Yet until the NSU’s responsibility for these crimes was made public in 2011, the communities’ protests were ignored by state prosecutors, media outlets, and German society at large. During the protracted and still ongoing political and legal processes that have ensued, the victims’ families repeatedly articulated their experiences of being silenced by the German state and its media. The term “NSU-Complex” describes this composite of neo-Nazi terror and ever-increasing cycles of institutional and structural racism that run through contemporary German society.

At the time of the killing an internal security agent of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz) of the German state of Hessen named Andreas Temme was present in the shop. In his interrogation by the police and in the subsequent NSU trial in Munich, Temme denied being a witness to the incident, and claims not to have noticed anything out of the ordinary. The court accepted his testimony. It determined that Temme was present at the back room of the internet café at the time of the murder. It also accepted that from his position in the shop it was possible not to have witnessed the killing.

In November 2016, 11 years after the murder, the People’s Tribunal “Unraveling the NSU Complex” commissioned Forensic Architecture to investigate Temme’s testimony and determine whether it could be truthful. Within the 77 square meters of the internet café and the 9:26 minutes of the incident, different actors crossed paths—members of migrant communities, a state employee and the murderers—and were architecturally disposed in relation to each other. The shop was thus a microcosm of the entire social and political controversy that makes the “NSU Complex.”

The investigation departed from a 2015 leak in which many of the police reports, witness testimonies, computer and phone logs and crime scene photographs were made public. Amongst these files was a crucial piece of evidence: a police video showing Temme re-enacting his departure from the internet café, in he stands up from a computer station in the back room, walks out to the front, places money on the front desk, behind which Halit’s body lay, and then walks out of the shop. Having taken place within an internet café, every witness was connected to a time coded device, either a computer or a phone, allowing several possible scenarios on multiple timelines to be plotted, and key characters, spaces, objects, and time frames to be identified.

The investigation included the construction of a 1:1 physical model of the café, the live and digital re-enactment of the event, media, data and image analysis, and the simulation of sound, scent, and vision to establish a space/time matrix within which different possible events both could and, crucially, could not have taken place. The results of the investigation establish that Temme’s testimony is untruthful; that it was impossible for Temme to have not witnessed the killing.

The investigation has been presented in the NSU Tribunal in Cologne on May 18, 2017, to the German Parliamentary commission, at community centers in Kassel, and documenta 14 as part of The Society of Friends of Halit.

For the full report, click here.

For a video of the investigation, click here.

Forensic Architecture
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