metroZones.Schule für städtisches Handeln, 28 to 30.5.2021: Re-Reading the Map – Conflicted spaces and the forensic gaze

(→ deutsche Version) In this second metroZones.School as part of the supplementary programme to the exhibition „Mapping along. Recording Margins of Conflict“, we shift the focus from ways of making to ways of reading maps. We conceive reading not as passive but as an active sense-making procedure of reconstructing and deconstructing how a given mapping „speaks to us“. Each mapping responds to other spatial images, so each reading corresponds to a re-reading, as a method of reflecting about situated spatial knowledge and power in cartographic practice.

Through collaborative readings, we may uncover different or divergent cartographic discourses, strategies and languages. What role do mappings play in the materializing of urban conflicts and conflicted landscapes? What do they reveal (or obfuscate) in spatial settings? What conflicts and power patterns underlie them? How may a (counter)forensic perspective materialize invisibilized crime and spatial conflictivity? These questions will be explored and discussed on the basis of selected mappings from Berlin (the dispute around the planned Amazon tower), Mexico City (as contested mega-urbanization) as well as the archive of the research agency Forensic Architecture.

The metroZones.School starts on Friday evening with a lecture by Mexican architect Sergio Beltrán-García, who will discuss a forensic perspective on mapping. On Saturday it continues with a workshop on creative readings of pre-selected mappings. The school will end on Sunday with a discussion on the outcomes and on the potential of re-reading maps in urban research by Monika Streule.

Both the Friday and Sunday discussions will be publicly accessible via videoconference, a link will be provided to registered participants. The workshop on Saturday has a limited capacity of places and will likely happen in or around the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, depending on the current pandemic regulations; remote participation may be possible. Lecture, workshop and discussion will be held in English. Please register at


Friday 28. May 2021, 7 pm (via video stream)

„The counter-forensic gaze: mapping to uncover public truth“

Public Lecture by Sergio Beltrán-Garcia, followed by a conversation with Anne Huffschmid

Sergio Beltrán-Garcia will share his experience as an architect at the intersections of public truth-finding, memory, and architectural representation. He will present a number of examples of his implementation of one of the core concepts of Forensic Architecture’s work: the counter-forensic gaze. The purpose is to provide theoretical tools which may assist the reading of maps produced by power structures. The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Anne Huffschmid, who has also engaged with counter-forensics in her audiovisual research on forced disappearance, and will be open for the audience.

Sergio Beltrán-García is an architect, activist, and researcher interested in the aesthetics and politics of memory and memorial construction. He has accompanied the production of memorial processes in cases of human rights violations in Mexico, both in contestation of and in collaboration with government initiatives.  He currently works as a researcher affiliated to Forensic Architecture.


Saturday, 29 May 2021, 10 am – 6 pm

„Reading as reconstructing: mappings as territories for sense-making and dispute“

Workshop guided by Sergio Beltrán-Garcia (Mexico City) and Monika Streule (Zürich) as well as by metroZones-members Anne Huffschmid and Kathrin Wildner. Location: Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin (see current pandemic regulations).

The workshop’s participants will interrogate and analyse mappings of different formats (paper, video, web-based, transmedia, geo-referential and other) from different urban and spatial settings, including Berlin and Mexico City. The workshop will combine working in small groups as well as collaborative exercises and discussions.

Please register until 26th of May at:


Sunday, 30 May 2021, 11 am – 2 pm (via video stream)

„Re-reading maps together: collective knowledge production in urban research“

Public discussion with workshop participants, metroZones, Sergio Beltrán-García and comments by Monika Streule.

Monika Streule is an urban scholar based at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich. Her research engages with the social production of space, urbanization processes and inventive methodologies of qualitative research. Currently, she is working on her second book project on a decolonized socio-territorial approach in urban studies with a regional focus on Latin America, particularly Mexico City and La Paz-El Alto in Bolivia.


More information about the exhibition Mapping Along
More information about the supplementary programme

Click here for the PDF version of the magazine on the exhibition Mapping Along attached to the taz.die tageszeitung print edition of 16 April 2021.

The project is supported by funds from the Senate Administration for Culture and Europe: the Capital City Cultural Fund, the Fund for Municipal Galleries and the Fund for Exhibition remuneration for visual artists.