Forensic Imagination | Susan Schuppli

This adapative notion of forensics is not content to merely ventriloquise the object-world around us but recognises that materials themselves have agency and are capable of speaking their histories under the right inductive circumstances. It offers a means for interrogating materials and artefacts; for probing their deep-inscriptions and teasing out their entangled speech acts. How might cultural materials be provoked into offering a counter-testimonial to the historical narratives into which they had previously been written? Unlike the popular science conception of forensics as the means to uncovering the unequivocal “truth” of what transpired, the term “forensic imagination” is predicated upon enlarging the field of enunciation through the creative retrieval and mobilisation of trace-evidence. Rather than a search for empirical truths, its  objectives are oriented towards an expansion of the object’s or artefact’s expressive potential. As Donna Haraway has suggested “redistributing the narrative field by telling another version of a crucial myth is a major process in crafting new meanings. One version never replaces another, but the whole field is rearranged in interrelation among all the versions in tension with each other.” In forensic science every contact is perceived as leaving a trace. In forensic imagination every encounter is capable of being retraced.