Another Look at Canadian Landscape
The most recent project of Berlin based artist Charles Stankievech presents us with a 35 mm film installation which reimagines Northern Canadian landscape and its relationship to military infrastructure and the architecture of remote outposts. The time-lapse footage is accompanied by a highly effective soundtrack scored by the artist himself. The footage for the project, The Soniferous Æther of The Land Beyond The Land Beyond, was shot by Stankievech while at the CFS ALERT Signals Intelligence Station - the northern-most settlement on earth that remains populated year round. The Station was built on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut in the 1950’s, and has a complex military history with the station having been used throughout the cold war as surveillance for Russian communications. Today it is a Canadian operation with about 200 inhabitants at any given time. The name of the project plays with a phrase describing the region in the Inuit language Inukitut, which translates to “The Land Beyond the Land of the People”. Filmed during the winter months, the station is shrouded in darkness, with inhabitants taking refuge from temperatures reaching -50 degrees celsius.
The result is an unsettling vision of the far North - the footage definitely relies on certain aesthetics that are linked to science fiction, and even our expectations of solitary outposts at the end of the world. Stankievech explains in conversation with WIRED that this outpost is a place where “the celestial meets the terrestial” with a landscape that easily relates to outer space. The haunting images in the film render this far-off destination as an extra-terrestrial or even post-human environment.
Here’s the artist’s website for more details. The above images are screen shots from the film - if you weren’t lucky enough to catch the project in person at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche (like me) - you can take a look at the trailer here.