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.

Kent History Forum photos

Sound mirrors on the Kent History Forum. There is lots of other good stuff on the site, too.

  • Abbot’s Cliff. Including an aerial photo.
  • Denge. on the last official walk … there was round 300 hundred of us.
  • Fan Hole, near Dover.
  • Hythe.
  • Joss Gap (Kingsgate). Joss bay had two sound mirrors one being a slab, this was cut into the cliff near by the castle keep hotel , now replaced by flats.a slight indentation can still be seen near the top of the cliff. Checking the site where the round mirror was, which was a timber frame rendered. a few years ago the telephone cable blocks were still in place.
  • Warden Point. With a good 1978 photo of it about to go over the cliff.

Warden Point mirror before the collapse

Sound mirror on cliff top at Warden Point
Paul Prior has supplied an old photograph, possibly taken circa 1969-70, showing the sound mirror at Warden Point near Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey.

The picture was taken before the cliffs were eroded so far that the mirror fell onto the beach below, which is thought to have happened in about 1978-79.

The mirror is on the extreme left of the picture. The design is similar to the mirrors at Selsey and in the northeast, suggesting a First World War date for its construction.

Warden Point sea defences

Now the bad news. Greg writes from Warden Bay:

a bit concerned about the future of our sound mirror. Basically government funding has now been sourced to install a rock sea defence along the bottom of the cliff to stop it eroding (probably the same as at Bartons Point, Minster). This would go along the beach to near where the mirror is located, but I would hate to see it buried in the rocks. The mirror is something quite historic, and has become a local landmark, often known as the “listening ear”. … I haven’t seen the plan for the proposed works or the impact they would have on the mirror, and don’t know whether it has any kind of preservation order on it.

Wouldn’t it be great if, while they have huge machines on the beach, if the mirror could be moved up the beach a bit, so as to ebate its decay in the sea?

Oh, by the way, the “cracked” thing was done by an artist(?) who did this sort of stuff all round the island! A waste of time if you ask me – all that effort would have been far more useful maybe erecting a plaque or something to explain, to the hundreds of people who use the beach, exactly what the concrete remains used to be, and how they played a vital part in our history.