Destruction and Return in al-Araqib
Al-Araqib is a village in the Negev desert, and Israeli troops have demolished it 140 times in the past six decades. Each time, the Bedouins who live there have rebuilt it. The government accuses the Bedouins of being on its territory, while the desert dwellers argue that they have lived on the land for many generations. The Forensic Architecture research group developed a platform to literally map out this conflict about land rights.
Forensic Architecture, a multidisciplinary collective, considers the archive footage and material released by the government to be unsatisfactory, because even a topographic map can be politically charged. They teach the community how to build their own archive, and the Bedouins assemble family documents and social media posts that show clearly when specific evictions took place, and where their ancestors are buried.
They have made the information they collected digitally searchable to create a new map of al-Araqib. The result gives a detailed view of the village as it is now, and as it was in previous “versions.” This is a living map, to which the Bedouins can add new evidence—an interactive archive record of their claim on land in the Negev.