With under a month to go until the Turner Prize ceremony, a surprising candidate has emerged as favourite to win the award.
William Hill is offering odds of 13/8 on a victory for Forensic Architecture, an interdisciplinary research group based at Goldsmiths, part of the University of London. The group describes itself as “an independent research agency” made up of “architects, scholars, artists, filmmakers, software developers, investigative journalists, archaeologists, lawyers, and scientists,” whose evidence is used by “political and legal forums, truth commissions, courts, and human rights reports.”
The Turner Prize judging committee is well known for making controversial or unpredictable choices during its 30 year history. However, it has thus far refrained from awarding Britain’s most prominent art prize to someone who is not, strictly speaking, an artist.
Forensic Architecture’s film “Killing in Umm al-Hiran” investigates an Israeli raid on a Bedouin village which resulted in multiple fatalities. It was described by the Londonist as a, “hugely important work representing those who are often oppressed by ruling governments.”
Second favourite for the prize at 11/4 is Naeem Mohaiemen for his two films examining the history of decolonisation after World War II. Slightly behind Mohaiemen is Luke Willis Thompson at 3/1 and Charlotte Prodger at 10/3.
None of these artists are well known, even within the art world, but it appears that for now the momentum is behind Forensic Architecture. However, with the odds so close between the shortlisted artists, the field is still wide open. Many reviewers have described this year’s line up as the best of recent years, with any potential winner well deserved.
Though as always with the Turner Prize, there is some disagreement. Michael Glover in the Independent described this year’s selection as “a miserable, tedious, poker-faced display.”