Sites of Escape (Under construction)

We are continuing the work we started with the Overt Research project on contested landscapes in a new iteration that maps what we are calling ‘Sites of Escape’ across the southeastern coast of England. In recent years, the liminal zone around the Thames estuary and beyond has become a favoured site for psychogeographers and urban explorers concerned with mapping the affective and material residues of post-industrial, post-imperial Britain. At the same time, the southeastern fringe of the country has become a frontline in post-Brexit border control, both literally and metaphorically, mobilised to rehearse moments of national triumph against invading enemies (the Blitz, the Battle of Britain) and to stage contemporary resistance to perceived external infiltration (‘stopping the boats’). We will explore the long history of the coast as a site of containment (military sites, fortresses, prisons, airfields, ports, flood defence infrastructure and other material borders) and also consider the southeastern fringe as the porous space of possibility where others dream of escape (mariners, aircraft pioneers, metropolitan exiles, incoming migrants).

Office of Experiments
Project Leads: Neal White and John Beck

Founded in London, 2004.