Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015

On 28 October 2015, a migrant boat left the coast of Western Turkey heading to the closest European coast – the Greek island of Lesvos. The shipwreck resulted in the death of at least 43 people, making it the deadliest incident of that period, also known as “the long summer of migration.” One of the survivors, the artist Amel Alzakout, recorded the journey and the shipwreck on a waterproof camera attached to her wrist. This footage – which also forms the basis of her subsequent film Purple Sea – provides a unique situated perspective on this tragic event at the threshold of Europe.
Commissioned by Alzakout, Forensic Architecture reconstructed the boat’s journey, the shipwreck, and the rescue operation that followed. Cross referencing the footage with other sources, including a long-range thermal video taken by artist Richard Mosse, videos by activists, professional press, and the Greek coastguard, as well as satellite images and weather data, helped answer the question “what happened,” who might be responsible, and revealed some of the complex politics of migration today.
by Forensic Architecture United Kingdom 2016 English 25’ Colour Documentary form


Director Forensic Architecture
Collaboration Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed, Mazd Jammoul, Richard Mosse, pong film
Filmed by Amel Alzakout, Richard Mosse, Eric Kempson, Mikel Konate / Associated Press, Greek Coastaguard, Nabaho Kayaker
Commissioned by Amel Alzakout
Producers Eyal Weizman, Christina Varvia, Stefanos Levidis, Nathan Su

Produced by

Forensic Architecture

Forensic Architecture

A research agency founded in 2010 by Eyal Weizman that is based at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. The group uses forensic investigative methods to examine cases of human rights abuses and political violence. Their film Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015 was featured at the 2020 Forum Expanded exhibition.


2017 Torture in Saydnaya Prison; 28 min. · The Enforced Disappearance of the Ayotzinapa Students; 4 min. · 77sqm_9:26min. The Murder of Halit Yozgat; 29 min. 2018 The Ali Enterprises Factory Fire; 18 min. 2019 Triple-Chaser; 11 min. 2020 Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015; 25 min. 2021 Hanau-Anschlag: der Notausgang; 9 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022