Shortly after 6 PM on 4 August 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history ripped through the port of Beirut in Lebanon. It killed more than two hundred people, wounded over 6,500, and destroyed large parts of the city.

Three months on, the Emmy Award-winning artist collective Forensic Architecture has created a 12-minute video that offers the most detailed and comprehensive digital reconstruction of the incident to date. Their findings, now made freely available, expose years of substantial and sustained state negligence which led to the formulation of a make-shift bomb.

Highsnobiety spoke to lead researcher, Samaneh Moafi, about how Forensic Architecture was able to develop such an astonishing work of collective research at a time when the algorithm favors misinformation and the Lebanese, French and American governments have largely kept their findings on the incident confidential.

In the months since the explosion, Lebanese authorities failed to hold any officials accountable. "Power never holds itself accountable," Moafi told Highsnobiety, "The search for accountability is a collective effort and we see our work as a small contribution to this collective effort."

The collective was invited by an Egyptian newspaper to examine open source information including videos, photographs, and documents to provide a timeline and a precise 3D model to help investigate the events of that day. "We located the footage in time and in space and created the most accurate timeline and 3D reconstruction of the incident," she explains, "We then used these materials to painstakingly reconstruct the interior of the warehouse and the layout of the goods stored inside."

Their findings are disturbing, but they also offer the most precise account of what happened that day and why. Moafi confirms, "the study demonstrates the ways in which the organization of goods within the warehouse was in violation of internationally accepted safety standards. As early as December 2014, various port and customs officials in Lebanon warned of the dangers posed by its storage but the public was never warned at any stage."

Moafi told us that the report has been met with many kind words and the collective "hope that with time the work can be used as an architectural resource in the collective search for bringing accountability." By making their model and research publicly available so that it can be used in future independent investigations. Watch below.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Their work has already had an impact. The research team recently geolocated and verified over a thousand incidents of police violence at Black Lives Matter protests. Their report has since supported prospective legal action, independent monitoring, reporting, and advocacy, as well as movement demands for accountability and abolition.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.
We Recommend
  • Crocs Echo Storm 2024.
    Crocs' Chunky New Slip-On Is Part Sneaker Part Clog
    • Sneakers
  • Playboi Carti wears a black vest, mesh bodysuit, camo cargo shorts & boots
    No, Playboi Carti Isn't Wearing a Thong (Though He's Close)
    • Style
  • PUMA & San San Gear's collaborative Mostro sneaker
    PUMA's Mostro Is a Different Animal — San San Gear Made It a Beast
    • Sneakers
  • Post Archive Faction & On Running's sneaker collaboration in a off-white colorway
    Post Archive Faction Is On Running's First Step Towards a Fashionable Future
    • Sneakers
  • Billie Eilish wearing a Raimundo Langlois polo shirt and ERL sneakers on Saturday Night Live
    The Designer Whose Post-Y2K Fashion Ushered In Billie Eilish's Prep Era
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • salehe bembury saru release
    Salehe Bembury's Crocs Mules Are Dropping Before His Sneakers
    • Sneakers
  • alexander mcqueen fw24
    Welcome to Seán McGirr's McQueen Era
    • Style
  • balenciaga winter 2024 show
    At Balenciaga's Winter 2024, Anything for Demna's Aesthetic
    • Style
  • Jeremy Allen White at the farmer's market carrying a tote bag full of flowers
    Big Fits, Bigger Flowers: Jeremy Allen White Is Always at the Farmer's Market
    • Style
  • HOKA's Tor Ultra Low sneaker in a green and white colorway
    HOKA's Best, Chunkiest Shoe Don't Need No Classic Colorways
    • Sneakers
  • Merrell 1TRL SS24 sneaker collection
    True Trail Shoe Innovation? Only Merrell 1TRL
    • Sneakers
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.