project image
Terence Birch

first performed on June 16, 2019
Folkestone, United Kingdom
performed once in 2019


Maidstone, UK


“Abbot’s Cliff” is a site-responsive work that took place at an abandoned sound mirror. This durational performance, from high to low tide at a full moon, tried to address how we relate to a future that belonged to the past, exploring the links between these architectural oddities and our own fears of abandonment, not belonging, and failure. Built in-between the wars, at a time where the rise of Fascism became the dominant voice in Europe, sound mirrors echo a time not dissimilar to the one we are currently facing. Intended as an early warning system, they were never used, as the advent of radar rendered them obsolete.

Actions at the site were offered as ‘rememberings,’ a process to create collective memories with the audience as we asked ourselves what it would look like to try and to take responsibility for a past based on the oppression of others.

Gold thread was wrapped around the structure and connected to pieces of paper. The pieces of paper were given back to me by the audience after a three-hour-long walk where they were asked to ‘collect fears.’

After climbing and reaching the top of the ‘concrete ear’ I lay across it. My body spanned its width, my feet cradling either side providing stability against the prevailing winds.

Through a crack in the middle I poured treacle which made its way down internally into the concave mirror. Further to that ultramarine powder and rose water layered the initial viscous treacle embedded within the crack of the mirror, resonating with the nature of the empires’ past and present history. The last liquid used was a glass of milk, which mildly faded the emergent blue color.

Semicircles were drawn on each of the four sides with chalk from the cliffs collected from the walk.

Tied to my waist, by a rope measuring the same height of the 30ft mirror, was a pillow that slowly released down feathers from a tear in its middle. I later held the pillow in my mouth and pulled it across the concrete edges, an action that opened it fully, releasing the feathers onto the surrounding landscape.

Being interested in investigating the resonances that can be found in these relics, I explored their potential as post-conflict traumatic memory listening devices across time.