Over the Rainbow, Under the Radar
Charles Stankievech is an artist who creates ‘fieldworks’: a spatial practice that combines researching, aesthetic experiments, curating, pedagogy and writing in which he reveals latent histories while questioning conventional boundaries. Two of his most significant new works, DEW Project and Ghost Rockets World Tour, are brought together for this exhibition employing videos, sculpture and artefacts to comment on the intersection of military influence and the history of communications.
The DEW Project explores the complex framework of the DEW Line (Distant Early Warning radar system): its physical site, architecture, questions of sovereignty and the history of media and communications. A network of remote radar and communication outposts extending across the high Arctic, the DEW Line was set up to detect USSR bombers during The Cold War and to provide early warning of a land-based invasion. Stankievech’s DEW Project revisits Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic radome, which in the mid-1950s was adapted to withstand the severe conditions of the North while proving electromagnetically invisible. A synecdoche of modern warfare post-WWII, its architecture distributes its structural forces through a framework formally related to the communication network it defends. The DEW Project revisits these networks and the boundaries inherent to them—both in regards to the environment and sovereignty—while observing how communication technology plays a pivotal role in the definition and delivery of such ideologies.
Ghost Rockets World Tour is twelve rocket launch spectacles occurring over twelve months at different sites around the world tactically mapping the history of ballistics: from the birth of military rocketry in Europe through MIT laboratories and the NASA space program to US Military bases in the desert and DARPA research stations in the Arctic. Adapting the form of a rock’n roll world tour, each site is paired with a pop song which inspires a choreography involving amplified sound on location, smoke grenades, lighting effects, and ultimately the rocket launch. A counterpoint to Stankievech’s DEW Project, Ghost Rockets targets the relationships between speed, surveillance and spectacle as much as exploring the concepts of gravity and transcendence.
Charles Stankievech’s work has been exhibited in the Palais de Toyko (Paris), International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA2010, Germany), Xth Biennale of Architecture (Venice), Eyebeam + ISSUE Project Room (New York), Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal), Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), and the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). Stankievech holds an MFA in Open Media and BA (hon.) in Philosophy and Literature. His writings have been included in academic journals, such as Leonardo Music Journal and 306090. A founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts, Stankievech shares his time between Dawson City and Berlin.