Ana Dana Beroš' // Landing Mirrors

// The Festival of Looking //

About the Artist:

Ana Dana Beros is an independent architect, curator and editor focused on creating environments that catalyse social change. Co-founder of ARCHIsquad – Division for Architecture with Conscience and educational programs UrgentArchitecture. Interest in architectural theory and experimental design led her to co-found Think Space and Future Architecture platforms. Her project Intermundia on trans- and intra-European migrationwas a finalist for the Wheelwright Prize at GSD Harvard and received a Special mention at the XIV Venice Architecture Biennale (2014). She was one of the curators of Actopolis – a transnational artistic laboratory with urban interventions in Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Mardin, Oberhausen, Sarajevo and Zagreb (2015-2017). Currently, she is the vice-president of the Croatian Association of Architects (2017-2019).

More Info >>

Project Summary:

In response to Folkestone Fringe’s brief of connecting two divided communities by a sometimes seemingly impermeable border, Ana Dana Beroš took this to a macro level. Inspired by the sentiment of the Tram Road brief, Ana decided to locate Landing Mirrors, as a public act of sound-mirroring, to the thresholds along the Channel. This project has been shaped by thinking about both borders and infrastructure, and their historical, geographical, social and military significance. The work includes a multi-lingual ‘Ode to Liberty’ written and sung by people from the town. It was performed on the cliffs of Folkestone out towards mainland Europe - reminding us that the stretch of water in-between, is a space of connection more than division.

"The idea behind the workshops is to think of two opposite shores as a single conceptual (geological) territory, and to provoke independent imagination of spatiality and sociality across the sea. The introductory trail that was undertaken down the Warren and up the cliffs, under extreme weather conditions, included the investigation of historic materialisations of border tensions, ending at the Abbot’s Cliff sound mirror with a reading of original acoustical reports (1934) on the “Operation of the Mirrors”.

The workshops proceeded with discussions on “contested borderscapes”, throughout history and today, reflecting on the contemporary “invisible” migrations and border crossings across the Channel. The project peaks with the collective creation of a polyvocal “Ode to Liberty,” which opens possibilities of being together otherwise. This will be performed on 30 June 2019, at the Abbot’s Cliff sound mirror site (alternatively, at the end of the Folkestone Harbour Arm)."

The piece will be written & sung/spoke by those who take part.

Migration thresholds and contested borderscapes are an ongoing enquiry in Ana’s projects and she used her research visit in April to discover more about these issues in relation to Folkestone. Ana did this by using the many archival resources available at the local library and Urban Room Folkestone. Ana also visited the remaining military infrastructure in the area and focused her attention on the sound mirrors which run along the South East coast of England.

The sound mirrors were built as listening devices to detect aircraft coming across the Channel during World War II. Radar was invented soon after, a much more effective method, which meant that the sound mirrors have been redundant ever since. Most of the sound mirrors remain in place, untouched, acting as reminders of past conflicts.

Workshops / Project Progress:

Introductory Event: Sat 8 Jun 2019 // Folkestone Trails II

The Folkestone Trails II - "Landing Mirrors" - explore critical migration thresholds along the English Channel. It consolidates two opposite shores, the city of Folkestone in England and the city of Calais in France, into a single conceptual territory, which tends to defy political borders and to provoke independent imagination of spatiality and sociality across the sea. The trail includes peripatetic investigations of materializations of border tensions throughout history, embodied in sound mirrors. Acoustic early warning systems, a forerunner of radar, sound mirrors were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns during the WWI. The walk will end in a rehearsal performance of an “Ode to Liberty” at the Abbot’s Cliff, as a form of “social act of mirroring” across the English Channel, from the scale of the body to the scale of territory.

This followed with weekly Wednesday workshops where we collectively created, discussed and researched for the finished piece.

Ana held a series of collaborative workshops where she invited people to work together to write a text, or ‘Ode to Liberty’ as Ana referred to it. This piece of collective writing was formed from cut-outs of the day’s newspaper, turning negative headlines into positive reflections and statements.

Ana and the Folkestone Fringe team also made several trips across the Channel to France by ferry. There were three main aims of the trips. The first was to discover if there was any similar military infrastructure along the French coast. The second was to find out whether people on the other side of the Channel have the same associations to the stretch of water as the British do. And thirdly, to simply experience what it feels like to cross the border.

The first trip to Calais included visiting the former Jungle site (now a nature reserve) and exploring the World War II bunkers along the shore line which formed part of Le Mur Atlantique (The Atlantic Wall). To find out more about the Atlantic Wall, Ana visited the local library and collected various images and pieces of information from their archives to add to her already in-depth research.

On the second trip to Dunkirk, the group met up with the director of a local arts organisation who took them on a tour of the town. From this they found out that, generally, people don’t seem to have the same prominent feelings towards the Channel as the British do. The Channel is a connection, as well as a separation, for the UK to mainland Europe and so perhaps has a more significant meaning for Brits in terms of negative associations such as invasion and threat as well as positive associations such as connecting to the European community, travel and trade.

The team also returned again to the former jungle site so that Ana could take some field recordings and documentation which would form part of her final event.

Whilst the group was in France, they bought the newspapers of the day so that the ‘Ode to Liberty’ would be a bilingual text and made up of language from either side of the Channel.

30 June 2019

Ana Dana Beroš: "The peripatetic investigation to Abbot’s Cliff sound mirror included listening to soundscapes from other contested borderscapes, such as the ex-Jungle camp in Calais, makeshift camps at the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, and the island of Lesbos, ending with the recital of “Harbour Town ReBorn”, a bi-lingual poem written in franglas by (temporary) Folkestonians, and performed collectively by the walkers.

Through its exhibitionary, discursive, and performative facets, “Landing Mirrors” attempted to “transform silence into language and action” (Audre Lorde), by articulating methods for de-individualised living; methods in which multiplicity and methods for de-individualized living; methods in which multiplicity and difference enact relationships and inhabit options of being together otherwise."

For the final event of Landing Mirrors, Ana hosted a public walk along the Kent shoreline and up the cliffs toward the sound mirror closest to Folkestone called Abbot’s Cliff. Along the way, the group collaboratively read aloud excerpts from texts by civil rights activist Audre Lorde and reports on the use of sound mirrors. Headphones with three sound pieces were passed from person to person along the route which were made up of recordings from three of the main migration thresholds Ana had visited; Lesbos, Lampedusa and Calais. When the final destination of the sound mirror was reached, the group came together to collectively perform the bilingual text from the workshops titled ‘The Harbour Town Reborn’ through a megaphone across the Channel. A public act which, in Audre Lorde’s words, attempted to transform the ‘silence into language and action.’

Future Plans: Ana’s research will form part of the ongoing research at Urban Room Folkestone and will be publicly accessible for residents and visitors.


1 April 2019

MagiC Carpets // 2019
Progress Agency