Calais, after the Jungle

A collection of images from the former Calais ‘Jungle’ camp and surrounding areas taken in July 2019.

This is a photo essay documenting Calais — both the former camp and the city’s wider landscapes and infrastructures.

Calais’ most recurrent architecture has arguably become the tall, closely knitted white steel fences and concrete walls designed to enforce the UK border, including the port and Eurotunnel terminals. These also surround the now defunct camp and are emerging in several other parts of Calais where new, much smaller improvised camps spring up. These barriers also serve a second function — to obscure and ‘invisibilise’ displaced people from everyday (French) life. Indeed, invisibility is in part important to displaced people in Calais, their aim often being to cross the border undetected. While highly punitive measures ensure that another camp is not built on the site of the Jungle, Calais is still home to a large number of displaced people who are not allowed to ‘install themselves’ — they cannot sit or lie down. Instead they are forced into a constant movement, hiding in bushes and wooded areas, silently occupying unseen, obscured and fenced-in parts of the city and its suburbs.

Meanwhile, the site of the former camp has been transformed into an eco-park. In this setting, ‘natural’ ecology is cultivated to erase displaced people, their histories, and practices for survival. In the camp-become-eco-park fen orchids have taken root, thick scrub, a community of horses, artificially constructed sand dunes, various small ponds, and a bird viewing hide. These new ‘architectures’ take on a new function as part of wider bordering practice in France. The ponds flood the area to prevent people from being able to camp or sleep in the space, and the bird hide and newly built boardwalks provide the regularly patrolling CRS police with vantage points for surveilling the area.

The complete photo essay can be found as a separate publication of the same name.