The Invisible "Jungle" of Calais: Migration & Photography at the Borders of Europe
In 2016, the British funded the construction of a thirteen-foot-high and half-mile-long anti-intrusion barrier in Calais, France. The "Great Wall of Calais", that cost three million dollars and disfigures the dune landscape surrounding the port, is only one element in a large array of security infrastructures transforming this region over the past fifteen years. Once more this city is a chokepoint for thousands of migrants; on the front-lines of the debate over those fleeing conflicts in the Middle-East, East and North Africa, or seeking a better life.
On the occasion of a photo exhibition in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery, this panel discussion with a photographer and a cultural anthropologist will consider the social challenges and consequences of migration by exploring the methods used to deter migrants from coming to Calais and prevent them from crossing to Britain. A series of photographs, 2017-2018, will be at the heart of the discussion, images that render visible the materialization of hardline immigration policies at the border between Europe and Brexit-land. Panelists will address migration in the North of France to shed light on political developments in the region. At issue is thinking about life in places where barbed wired fences, watchtowers, flooded zones bar the horizon, and police brutality is a daily affair.