by alis23

This work has been commented by 2 curator(s). Read the comments




Rave and Protest at the Calais borders

Concept author(s)

Alice Duranti

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

I curated the idea, the concept, the design and the copywriting for this project.

Concept author(s) Country


Friendly Competition

Pleasure (2016)

Competition category

Visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

UAL / Central Saint Martins / MA Communication Design

Check out the Pleasure 2016 outlines of Memefest Friendly competition.

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

Fuck Borders Free Festival is a fictional free party which is supposed to take place next weekend at the Calais border.

The idea behind this fake event is to bring as much people as possible to Calais, so to let them engage in loco with the complex realities going on in the refugees camp.

I decided to focus on the Calais Jungle because of what is recently happening: Hollande declared that the camp will be demolished in the next weeks and the refugees who want to reach the UK will be forcedly relocated in reception centers around France. Furthermore, a £1.9m concrete wall is being built on the Calais border specifically to block the ones who desperately try to illegally cross the border to ask for asylum.

Looking at the whole situation, this seems the last chance to hold a meaningful protest in Calais: what a better way to engage young people to come to the area than a call for creative resistance?

Of all the forms of protest illegal free festivals are the most enjoyable, because they combine together protesting and dancing; based on concepts like occupation, temporariness and autonomy, these parties make move thousands of people from all around Europe to secret T.A.Z. (Temporary Autonomous Zones) that last hours, days, sometimes even weeks.

Free parties are strictly connected with pleasure: the pleasure of dancing together, the pleasure of being part of a borderless community, the pleasure of going against the rules, the pleasure of meeting people and experiencing empathic bonds, the pleasure of self-organizing, the pleasure of feeling free and without rules. Why not sharing this pleasure with the refugees?

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The whole communication aims to promote the festival in an engaging and mysterious way, so to reflect the nature of the illegal event. The inspiration comes directly from DIY communication and aesthetic, with the use of strong symbols, bold typography and call-for-action copywriting. Different materials have been produced with specific purposes: FLYER: the flyer has been designed as a small manifesto to communicate the motifs of the festival. Being three-lingual, it wants to engage both an international young audience, the locals and the refugees. The B/W version can be easily photocopied and shared by everyone. BOOKLET: since the festival wants to support the refugees in Calais, a little booklet has been designed to give some background and information to the participants. Like the flyer, it can be easily photocopied and distributed prior to the party; its size make it easy to keep in the wallet and it minimizes paper waste (four booklets can be printed on an A3 sheet). POSTER: the poster aims to give just a hint of the event, creating expectations and curiosity. Only the essential information have been communicated. As a plus, I created a visual representation of what the festival may looks like in action. The refugees are represented having fun with ravers under the sound system, being humanized perceived as "us" more than "them". It would be interesting to see how the media would react to this kind of communication related to the visual representation of refugees.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

Frankly I don't have the presumption to think that my graphics would bring any concrete benefit to the society: the project is a provocation and it lives only in a hypothetical scenario. If it was really going to happen, I think it would be effective in actually bringing a lot of people in Calais and focusing the attention of the media on what's happening there.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

This project was produced in a week: having this little time, I decided to follow my gut instead of using rationality and logic, something that I never do. Without the pressure of saving the world through my graphic design, I felt free to think outside the box and experiment with different visuals. I had a lot of fun.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I think the communication works well because it is familiar to the travellers, artists, sound systems, performers and free spirits that would actually go to Calais to party and to support the refugees. In this sense, the audience for this project is quite specific.

Furthermore, I think the project would be able to engage even the ones who don't know about free parties and DIY culture in general, thanks to the balance between clarity and mystery in the communication: while the intents are explicit, the way the party will be organized remains unclear, stimulating the curiosity of the ones who willing to participate. Secrecy is always appealing.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

The communication could be enriched with the material related to the party, like banners, DIY sculptures, themed marquees and so on. It would be amazing to see the festival happening for real.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Not yet. This project is an exclusive for Memefest.

Curators Comments

Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo

Hi Alice,

This project is a strong response to this year's Memefest, bringing together the theme of pleasure with a pressing social issue. The basic premise of bringing people together in festive rebellion at a contested site of struggle is provocative, and possibly an effective form of protest. The design is a very effective deployment of an "activist" aesthetic, and I really like the logo you've created for the festival.

This being said, it also raises some serious ethical questions in relation to the refugee communities at Calais, and how european "activists" relate to the situation. As is often the case, despite good intentions, your hypothetical project still projects refugees as "other", and it doesn't seem to include their voices in the project. Representing refugees as more like "us" is not necessarily an act of humanizing, but more an imposition of cultural identity. It normalizes rather than diversifies or includes. Is a party really what is needed? Would this really be an act of solidarity, or just an excuse to party and feel good about oneself?

Given the hypothetical context, and timeline with which you worked, I think your project is very effective. It works well as a provocation, pointing to the direness of the refugee crisis, and the absurdity and racism of the state's response. However, I do believe it also has real-world potential as well (despite the recent violent "clearing" of the camp). As such, it would be very important to apply a participatory approach to the process and design, and engage directly with refugee communities in the co-creation of the event.

Antonio Rollo

I write from a region, Puglia, considered the gateway to the East. I write from the shores of the Canale d’Otranto, already corridor of the Albanian people in the ‘90. I write and I remember the words of Professor. Gino Santoro (Sconcerto for Europe, Oistros editions, Lecce 2015) that calls to reconsider the inner meaning of Europe: ““Io, I, Ich, Je, Jag, Jeg, Ja, Εγο…ma con Europa non dovevano i bruchi dell’Io dissolversi nella nuvola d’un volo di farfalle del Noi, Os, Vi, We, Wir, My, Εμεισ? E, allora, come disseccare l’Io che innerva i testi? Tradurre – tradire – lacerare – rimagliare – scrivere – cancellare – segnare – sciogliere – annodare – snodare – mascherare – svelare – - – Risvegliare Europa.” Awaken Europe.
FUCK FREE BORDERS FESTIVAL awaken Europe from the Other bewilderment. And if the others were just us, seen through the eyes of a We in transition, on the run, in migration? This work rehabilitates the We in Europe, light up the pleasure of sharing, turn off the vicious thoughts of the ego that has not hunger or thirst, promises the beginning of a new era that, from the dust of modernity, aims to shape communally a planet getting smaller.