US ‘Sound Mirror’ art exhibition

VISITOR CENTER is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition ‘Sound Mirror,’ a solo exhibition by Audra Wolowiec featuring works on paper and sculptures investigating the materiality of sound and their visual manifestations.

Sound or Acoustic Mirrors are large parabolic cement structures that were built along the coast of England in the early 1900’s as listening devices to detect the approach of enemy aircraft. Soon made obsolete by new technology, these architectural forms punctuate the landscape, as reminders of the physicality of sound. Works in the show, from large handmade paper waveforms, to cast concrete and ceramic sculptures, mine materiality through surface echoes and reciprocal wave patterns. These series are in conversation with Wolowiec’s work with language-based sound scores in print and book form.

The exhibition is at Newburgh in New York state, USA, and is open from October 9 to December 18 2021

Sound mirror made for the 2015 Royal Academy Summer Show

1:200 scale sound mirror made for the Royal Academy Summer Show 2015. “This concept model was made from acrylic and brass etching. It was predominately a flat base with a contoured detail depicting part of the Essex coastline. The idea was based on the concrete radar reflectors built during the Second World War.” Artist Hannah Sawtell, architect Friend and Company.

Sound mirror talk and exhibition in Ramsgate

Sonic reflections

09/09/2020 | 5 p.m.

East Cliff Bandstand, Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate

This talk will see guest speakers discussing their experience in researching the history & archaeology of sound mirrors & acoustic detection in Kent. Please be aware the event will be subject to social distancing.


Peter Osborne was involved in publishing Richard Scarth’s important work on acoustic detection “Echoes From the Sky” & has conducted much personal research on the subject for books & articles.

Robert Hall has researched sound mirrors & contributed to publications on acoustic detection. He was also instrumental in assisting the National Trust’s excavation of the Fan Bay sound mirrors in Dover, 2014.


….is happening along with

Echoes: sound mirrors exhibition

10/09/2020 | noon

East Cliff Bandstand, Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate
This exhibition assesses the history of Kent’s coastal sound mirrors & their role in an unusual history of acoustic detection, for which the East Kent Coast played such a crucial part.


Sound mirrors at the Ramsgate Festival of Sound 2020

The East Kent Coast Discovery Programme has received Arts Council funding to host an exhibition and installation on sound mirrors as part of the Ramsgate Festival of Sound.

Echoes explores the archaeology of sound by looking at Kent’s coastal sound mirrors, spherical dishes built in the early 20thC to reflect & concentrate soundwaves. Providing an early warning system against incoming aircraft they could approximate location & distance, helping to pave the way for radar positioning. By inviting guests to interact live with an immersive installation & sound piece using built acoustic mirrors, Echoes raises questions about sound, archaeology & human experience.

The event will be at the Eastcliff Bandstand, Ramsgate, CT11 8JL, from Thursday 10 September until Sunday 13 September 2020.

Re)collecting (f)ears sound mirror art events

re)collecting (f)ears is a series of site-specific performances at fallen sound mirrors across the Kent coast. The project will culminate with a publication produced by Well Projects and an exhibition of photographic & film documentation, exhibited at ]performance s p a c e [ (Folkestone) and Well Projects (Margate).

These sonic remains are physical manifestations of pre-war tensions and fears – initially built to provide defence, they are now succumbing to elemental erosive forces along the coasts of England. As relics of an early warning system that never came to fruition, their failure to serve their intended function could be seen to occupy the space of a fossilised mourning for a future that never came.

More on Facebook and at selinabonelli‘s website. It seems there is something happening in Folkestone on 14 and/or 21 September 2019.

There have been events on Thursday 15 August 2019 at the Warden Point sound mirror from 13:45 to 20:08:

And before that at the Hythe sound mirror from 12:00 to 17:10 on Sunday 15 July 2019, at and Abbot’s Cliff from 11:08 to 18:34 on Sunday 16 June 2019.

Sound mirror poem

Sound Mirror, a Denge sound mirror inspired poem by Derek Adams at Places of Poetry:

“It does not stand on the marsh.
It does not sit in the landscape.

Places of Poetry “aims to use creative writing to prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place. The site is open for writers to pin their poems to places from 31st May to 4 October 2019.”

“Bombing the Channel Ports” by Eric Ravilious, then and now

A comparison of the 1941 watercolour painting “Bombing the Channel Ports” by war artist Eric Ravilious, and the same view of the Abbott’s Cliff sound mirror on 13 August 2017.

Bombing the Channel Ports
Bombing the Channel Ports © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 1588)

The painting is described by the Imperial War Museum as showing “a deserted coastal road that leads past an ‘acoustic mirror’ early warning device. In the top right of the composition there are searchlights beaming up into the sky, and a large circular glow of light to one side.”