Starfish

Authors: Kathrine Sandys*, Rose Bruford College
Topics: Military Geography, Cultural Geography, Land Use
Keywords: Military Architecture, Aerial Decoys, Coastal Borders, Political Borders, Pyrotechnics, Operational Bunkers
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Starfish was the nickname given to a British World War Two aerial decoy operation, known as special fires. This night time operation employed set designers from Sound City Studios, now Shepperton Studios, creating a carefully choreographed and stage managed temporary border defence around British coasts and major cities. These decoys deflected aerial attack away from major ports, air bases and prime targets. The temporary structures, displaying major pyrotechnics were carefully controlled from operations bunkers, constructed for protection. Although the Starfish sites no longer have any trace in the rural locations they inhabited, the permanent remains of the control bunker act as contrasting scars across areas of the UK.

This presentation outlines the seemingly random location of these bunkers, of specific operational architecture and how they act as geographic traces of the British Aerial defence operations in relation to British coastal borders in 1940. These traces form the basis of a new artwork, appropriating these rural, architectural scars along the UK's North Sea coast, placing them in relation to the imminent change in the UK's North Sea political border with Europe in 2019.

The new artwork, continues my use of World War Two and Cold War military architecture in sound and light installation works, from 2004 to the present day.

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