Drawing on the work of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, a British-Lebanese artist and researcher currently based in Beirut, this essay examines the juridical and conceptual field of critical forensis which is situated at the juncture of security studies, art, and architecture. Abu Hamdan extends forensics to the area of “new audibilities,” with a focus on the politics of juridical hearing in situations of legal-identity profiling and voice authentication (the “shibboleth test”). Abu Hamdan's projects investigate how accent monitoring and audio surveillance, voice recognition, translation technologies, sovereign acts of listening, and court determinations of linguistic norms emerge as so many technical constraints on “freedom of speech,” itself a malleable term ascribed to discrepant claims and principles, yet taking on performative force in site-specific situations.

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