a/symmetries of the Jungle
This visual essay was originally published in The System of Systems, 2017.
Design Unlikely Futures (DUF) is the collective name for an ongoing project developed by a number of collaborators. Since 2015 DUF have been developing collaborative and participatory practices for documenting ‘the Jungle’ – an unofficial camp which existed on wasteland outside Calais in northern France until its destruction in the winter of 2016. Built by its residents and various volunteer groups, ‘the Jungle’ became an autonomous space home to up to 10,000 people. Despite this, the camp was not recognised by British or French governments and its inhabitants were offered minimal aid from official channels.
DUF developed and deployed a bespoke tandem bicycle with built in cameras in November 2016, shortly before the camp’s residents were evicted and its structures destroyed. The aim of the bicycle was fourfold: to generate new opportunities, to understand lived experiences of the camp, to ‘map’ the space in various ways, and to create a place for residents’ voices. In pursuit of the latter aim, they invited residents to pilot the bicycle, altering the dynamics of researcher and researched.