a collaborative installation
Play the Sound Installation
Dunkerque is an immersive installation chamber produced by the Liva Collective, in direct collaboration with past inhabitants. Through sound, reconstructed props, photography, written word and video installations visitors are taken into a now destroyed refugee camp near the ferry terminal of Calais in France.
The Dunkerque Mayor lead the push for the build – the funds were raised by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the local town hall. Around 85% of the camps residents were Kurdish, the largest group of people on earth who don’t have an independent homeland; for centuries they have been on a quest for nationhood, rejected by a series of repression, internal political disputes and Western intervention.The other 15% consisted of various minorities from Iran, Syria, Kuwait and Vietnam. The camp population became very overcrowded, with up to 2000 refugees sleeping in the shelters, kitchens and open camp structures.
The charitable management of the camp (Utopia56) came to an end in May 2016 due to disagreements regarding the enforcements made by the French State on placing strict control on refugee admission and volunteer access. It was then run by a joint agreement between the State, City Council and the organisation Afeji.
Due to the bureaucracy of the system, gaining support for the self-organised groups working in the camp became very challenging. At one point, distribution of maintenance and basic materials were restricted and even banned, leaving some individuals sneaking in blankets through the worst of winter. As a result, there was no central management for a joint aid system and eventually close to no social initiatives were supported by the camp officials. Additionally, a constant undertone of closure overruled many attempts to make the environment a dignified, comfortable space to live in; its only eventual purpose for the State was to keep the citizens fed and, as cynical as it sounds, concealed.
The atmosphere in the camp finally reached boiling point and it tragically burnt down in April 2017 due to clashes that broke out between camp residents. It left over 1500 refugees stranded; some were moved into temporary emergency spaces, which have now shut down. Many of the refugees, including families, remained in the area of Northern France, sleeping in even more precarious micro-encampments such as the forest.
IllustrationsCreated By Scott Torrance
Wshear Wali – Videography/photography, written word and direction (https://vimeo.com/wsheareal)
Karo Amin – Written word and subject of imagery
Scott Torrance – Illustrations (https://artplusmarketing.com/@scottorrance)
Georjie Adams – Overall curation and design, construction, written word and photography – (www.georjie.com)
Connor Shafran – Soundtrack and audio designer – (www.connorshafran.com)
Ramin Aryaie – Photography, audio recordings and design (https://voiiage.org)
Ján Lietava – 35mm Photography (http://www.janlietava.com)
Razan Alzayani – Photography and audio (http://razanalzayani.com)
Amelia Gentleman – Photography (reporter for The Guardian) (guardian.co.uk/profile/ameliagentleman)
With heartfelt thanks to the anonymous contributors who, for protection, are unnamed – Audio recordings, thoughts and direction.