SOUND MIRRORS' PORTRAITS

Period: November 2017 - June 2018
Place: England
Technique: Analog, Kodak Ektar 100 

The sound mirrors are passive devices used to reflect and concentrate the acoustic waves: they are widespread along the South and East coasts of England. They consist of concrete parabolas with a diameter of a few meters. In the twenties of the last century, their use combined with microphones, allowed to intercept planes directed towards the coast, discovering in advance any possible attacks. The need to be positioned near the coasts mainly in raised areas, the strong materiality of the concrete and their huge dimensions make them spectacular and extremely fascinating structures, able to dominate the entire surrounding landscape. They represent an incredible demonstration of how sound can generate a physical form: both the radius of curvature and the dimensions of the parables are studied and designed according to the sound frequency that they must reflect. Despite their evident state of abandonment, they constitute a lectio magistralis on the physics of sound, as well as a rare example of technology still directly linked with the sense organs.

The photographic project consists of the cataloging of the last thirteen mirrors still existing in England; in addition to providing an update of the physical conditions, the project wants to bring these structures to attention as a precious historical-cultural heritage, reconciling them with the dignity and value they deserve.

Bibliography:
Perspectives on Sound-Space: The Story of Acoustic Defense, Raviv Ganchrow
in Leonardo Music Journal Vol. 19, The MIT Press 2009
The Listening Mirrors, Alan Wright & Peter Kendall in Journal of Architectural Conservation 14:1 2008 

 


Publications:
National Geographic Italia 
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©2019 Piercarlo Quecchia