Monument as Ruin

Charles Stankievech

Reviewed by Matthew Flintham

30 Aug 2015

The cen­tre can­not hold,” writes W. B. Yeats while reflect­ing on the spir­i­tu­al ruins of World War I. An arche­ol­o­gy of mil­i­tary out­posts across the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry unearths a typol­o­gy of ear­ly warn­ing sys­tems that trace the vec­tor of a cen­tre spin­ning into a widen­ing gyre.” Such an arche­ol­o­gy out­lines a series of archi­tec­tur­al forms built to func­tion on the edges of civ­i­liza­tions, con­cretiz­ing a shift from a geom­e­try focused on a cen­tre to a topol­o­gy of con­nec­tions. Mov­ing for­ward through time, traces remain in the form of a trin­i­ty of out­posts based on three dif­fer­ent types of modal­i­ties: the son­ic in World War I, the visu­al in World War II, and the elec­tro­mag­net­ic in the Cold War. Mon­u­ment as Ruin (2015), which encap­su­lates the first two modal­i­ties, con­cludes a three-part research trea­tise on mil­i­tary archi­tec­ture in which I have method­olog­i­cal­ly moved back­ward in time. In the ini­tial project, my field­work Dis­tant Ear­ly Warn­ing (2009) engaged with the embed­ded land­scape and the his­to­ry of elec­tro­mag­net­ic war­fare in the lat­ter half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, Dis­tant Ear­ly Warn­ing inves­ti­gat­ed how the unique for­mal over­lap­ping of the func­tion­al and struc­tur­al ele­ments of Buck­min­ster Fuller’s geo­des­ic radome fore­shad­owed net­worked war­fare as an exten­sion of game the­o­ry. The project focused on the geo­des­ic radomes of the Arc­tic radar sur­veil­lance sta­tions as the synec­doche of the Cold War’s devel­op­ment of net­worked war­fare — an archi­tec­ture that dis­trib­utes its struc­tur­al forces through a frame­work for­mal­ly relat­ed to the com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work con­nect­ing the archi­tec­ture. The cur­rent project, Mon­u­ment as Ruin, retraces this method­ol­o­gy even far­ther back by focus­ing atten­tion on two more, sim­i­lar­ly extreme exam­ples of mil­i­tary out­posts but from before the Cold War: the cen­tre of grav­i­ty in the Atlantik­wall com­prised of cement Nazi bunkers in World War II and the focus of the parab­o­loid in British exper­i­ments with cement son­ic reflec­tors start­ing at the end of World War I. Seen as a com­plet­ed series, the tril­o­gy of twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry mil­i­tary out­posts — due to their extreme design and con­struc­tion — reveal the shift in val­ues of a soci­ety: from a mod­ernist cen­tre to a con­tem­po­rary decentralization.

The tra­jec­to­ry of mod­ern mil­i­tary out­posts unfolds accord­ing to the intro­duc­tion of the third dimen­sion of war­fare — the devel­op­ment of flight that sub­se­quent­ly led to the addi­tion of air­planes to the bat­tle­field. Ancient war­fare was at first one-dimen­sion­al (or odolog­i­cal, as in lin­ear path­ways) as mil­i­tary strat­e­gy fol­lowed the line of rivers and coast­lines from port to port. Advance­ments in car­tog­ra­phy and mobi­liza­tion estab­lished a two-dimen­sion­al under­stand­ing of war with blocks of ter­ri­to­ry to con­quer and defend. Three-dimen­sion­al war­fare start­ed to treat the earth, ocean, and air as spaces of pen­e­tra­tion. In this mod­ern the­atre, two ele­ments became impor­tant upon intro­duc­ing air­craft: attack lim­i­ta­tions were based on geo­det­ic vec­tors of dis­tance and not so much the land­scape’s topog­ra­phy, and more­over, the speed of the enemy’s attack became expo­nen­tial­ly faster. In order to defend against this new threat, Britain exper­i­ment­ed with large cement parab­o­loid forms designed to col­lect and ampli­fy the sound of noisy air­plane engines. Built on the coast of the south­east­ern Unit­ed King­dom as a bul­wark against con­ti­nen­tal inva­sion, the mono­liths’ large con­cave dish­es faced the Eng­lish Chan­nel, angled slight­ly upward into the clouds. Accord­ing to fun­da­men­tal physics, sound waves were expect­ed to trav­el across the open ocean/​landscape and bounce off the large reflec­tive sur­face of the cement dish to be col­lect­ed at a sin­gle point, the focus of the dish, and thus ampli­fy the sig­nal. A lis­ten­er would be posi­tioned at this exact point with either a stetho­scope or a micro­phone, aim­ing to pick out an incom­ing bogey. Mon­u­men­tal in size, the struc­tures were immov­able, and, for most of the parab­o­loids, so was the result­ing focus point for lis­ten­ing. (Exper­i­ments with lat­er and larg­er reflec­tors involved mov­ing the lis­ten­er or posi­tion­ing sev­er­al lis­ten­ers to attempt a direc­tion-find­ing tech­nique using spher­i­cal rather than parab­o­loid con­caves.) Ulti­mate­ly, the cement forms were a fail­ure as they received too wide a band­width of son­ic infor­ma­tion: from ocean waves and traf­fic to wildlife and the elu­sive air­craft. The inven­tion of radar, with its nar­rowed focus on metal­lic objects, quick­ly replaced these exper­i­ments before they were of any prac­ti­cal use, oth­er than the estab­lish­ment of a net­work pro­to­col between out­posts that was trans­ferred to the Chain Home sys­tem. (Iron­i­cal­ly, the first radar exper­i­ments by the British includ­ed bounc­ing a BBC radio sig­nal off a bomber — a direct trans­fer from sound to elec­tro­mag­net­ic infor­ma­tion.) Today, the parab­o­loids stand guard over a Tarkovskian Zone” of over­grown marsh­es, fields, and ruins. We no longer know if these mono­lith­ic sen­tinels are still lis­ten­ing. Per­haps, like the mono­lith of Stan­ley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, they are wait­ing to send out a cos­mic sig­nal at the des­tined geo­log­i­cal peri­od, although in our par­al­lel uni­verse, not at the advent of galac­tic homo sapi­ens but after the Anthro­pocene, when the Earth has cleansed itself of the dan­ger­ous muta­tions of humans.

Across the Chan­nel a few decades lat­er, the cen­tre shift­ed from the focus of the parab­o­loid to the cen­tre of grav­i­ty in bunker archi­tec­ture. In his sem­i­nal exhi­bi­tion and result­ing book from 1975, Bunker Arche­ol­o­gy, Paul Vir­ilio points out that the unique­ness of the Atlantikwall’s cement forms con­sist­ed in their struc­tur­al integri­ty derived not from a foun­da­tion but rather from their cen­tre of mass. In con­trast to tra­di­tion­al build­ings con­struct­ed on pads or pil­lars align­ing them­selves with the Earth’s grav­i­ta­tion­al forces, what philoso­phers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guat­tari would call strat­i­fied space,” the bunker was a sin­gle cast object with deflect­ing curves and with­out win­dows — more like a mon­ad. Con­se­quent­ly, if the earth was blown away under the bunker, instead of the build­ing con­ven­tion­al­ly col­laps­ing, it sim­ply rolled upon the radius of its cen­tre of grav­i­ty. With this move­ment, the con­cept of the cen­tre in mil­i­tary archi­tec­ture makes a slight shift: away from parab­o­loids with sta­tion­ary cen­tres of struc­ture and per­cep­tion, to bunkers that could tol­er­ate move­ment and remain oper­a­tional. Whether they move in the mid­dle of bat­tle among humans or in the bat­tle against time itself, the bunkers embody the antithe­sis of artist Robert Smithson’s notion of archi­tec­ture — instead of entrop­ic time bury­ing a shed, here the Earth itself has weath­ered away to reveal a cos­mic star­ship. What remains is an evil rel­ic of colo­nial­ism — either from an empire in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry or per­haps from when alien life first came to this plan­et mil­lions of years ago. 

Clarice Lispector. Água Viva. 1973

I stopped to drink cool water: the glass at this instant now is of thick faceted crystal and with thousands of glints of instants. Are objects halted time?

Pre-WWII Experimental Sonic Military Outpost Architecture, Dungeness, UK

​Photo courtesy the author

Vincent Scully, Jr. Michelangelo's Fortification Drawings: A Study in the Reflex Diagonal. 1952

The rectangle and the simple circular rhythm, both calculable by numerical means, must give way to a more complex, dynamic system of interpenetrating diagonals. Space must not now be primarily enclosed as a volume-as it had been in even the powerful rocche of Francesco di Giorgio in the fifteenth century-but must, most actually, be created psychically along expanding diagonal fields of vision. The curve, where it appears, must accommodate itself to the dynamism of the diagonal. All the architectural elements then begin to move, the walls angle toward each other or away; at many of their points of intersection, in plan at least, voids must develop to allow circulation or vision.

Monument as Ruin (Installation Image)

Pigmented died cement sculptures, photographs, video installation and curated artefacts and art.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

​Photo courtesy the author

J.G. Ballard. The Drowned World. 1962

Far below them, the great dome of the planetarium hove out of the yellow light, reminding Kerans of some cosmic space vehicle marooned on Earth for millions of years and only now revealed by the sea.

World War II Generator Bunker, Atlantic Coast

​Photo courtesy the author

Barbara M. Stafford. “Toward Romantic Landscape Perception: Illustrated Travels and the Rise of ‘Singularity’ as an Aesthetic Category.” Art Quarterly. 1977

The concept that true history is natural history emancipates the objects of nature from the government of man. For the idea of singularity it is significant . . . that geological phenomena--taken in their widest sense to include specimens from the mineral kingdom--constitute landscape forms in which natural history finds aesthetic expression. . . . The final stage in the historicizing of nature sees the products of history naturalized. In 1789, the German savant Samuel Witte-basing his conclusions on the writings of Desmarets, Duluc and Faujas de Saint-Fond-annexed the pyramids of Egypt for nature, declaring that they were basalt eruptions; he also identified the ruins of Persepolis, Baalbek, Palmyra, as well as the Temple of Jupiter at Agrigento and the Palace of the Incas in Peru, as lithic outcroppings.

World War II Bunker, Atlantic Coast

​Photo courtesy the author

Andreas Huyssen. “Nostalgia for Ruins.” 2006

The work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi stands as one of the most radical articulations of the ruin problematic within modernity rather than after it. My interest in Piranesi and his ruins may well be itself nostalgic—nostalgic, that is, for a secular modernity that had a deep understanding of the ravages of time and the potential of the future, the destructiveness of domination and the tragic shortcomings of the present; an understanding of modernity that—from Piranesi and the romantics to Baudelaire, the historical avant-garde, and beyond—resulted in emphatic forms of critique, commitment, and compelling artistic expression.

An imaginary of ruins is central for any theory of modernity that wants to be more than the triumphalism of progress and democratization or longing for a past power of greatness. As against the optimism of Enlightenment thought, the modern imaginary of ruins remains conscious of the dark side of modernity, that which Diderot described as the inevitable “devastations of time” visible in ruins. It articulates the nightmare of the Enlightenment that all history might ultimately be overwhelmed by nature.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Hadrian’s Villa: Apse of the so-called Hall of the Philosophers (1774)
In Monument as Ruin (Installation Image)
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University
Collection: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

Photo courtesy Paul Litherland

W.G. Sebald. The Rings of Saturn. 1995

From a distance, the concrete shells, shored up with stones, in which for most of my lifetime hundreds of boffins had been at work devising new weapons systems, looked (probably because of their odd conical shape) like the tumuli in which the mighty and powerful were buried in prehistoric times with all their tools and utensils, silver and gold. My sense of being on ground intended for purposes transcending the profane was heightened by a number of buildings that resembled temples or pagodas, which seemed quite out of place in these military installations. But the closer I came to these ruins, the more any notion of a mysterious isle of the dead receded, and the more I imagined myself amidst the remains of our own civilization after its extinction in

some future catastrophe. To me too, as for some latter-day stranger ignorant of the nature of society wandering about among heaps of scrap metal and defunct machinery, the beings who had once lived and worked here were an enigma, as was the purpose of the primitive contraptions and fittings inside the bunkers, the iron rails under the ceilings, the hooks on the still partially tiled walls, the showerheads the sizes of plates, the ramps and soakaways. Where and in what time I truly was that day at Orfordness I cannot say, even now as I write these words.

Three types of parabolic sonic reflectors, Dungeness, UK

Photo courtesy the author

J.G. Ballard. The Terminal Beach. 1964

The series of weapons tests had fused the sand in layers, and the pseudo-geological strata condensed the brief epochs, microseconds in duration, of thermonuclear time. Typically the islands inverted the geologist’s maxim, The key to the past lies in islands was a fossil of time future, its bunkers and blockhouses illustrating the principle that the fossil record of life was one of armour and the exoskeleton.

The landscape is coded.

Entry points into the future=Levels in a spinal landscape=zones of significant time.

World War II Command and Communication Bunker, Atlantic Coast

Photo courtesy the author

Ernst Jünger. Storm of Steel. 1924

The particular character of fortified works does not appear with as much impact when one dwells in them. This character became vivid only when I was reviewing block 14 of the customs point at Greffern, which its occupants had deserted. When I had after much effort succeeded in opening the enormous iron door and had gone down into the concrete crypt, I found myself alone with the machine guns, the ventilators, the hand grenades, and the munitions, and I held my breath. Sometimes a drop of water would fall from the ceiling or the sector telephone would ring in various ways. It was only here that I recognized the place as the seat of cyclops who were expert in metal works but who do not have the inner eye, just as sometimes in museums you can ascertain the meaning of certain works more clearly than those craftsmen who made them and who used them at length. Thus was I, as if inside a pyramid or in the depths of catacombs, faced with the genius of time that I construed as an idol, without the animated reflection of technical finesse and whose enormous power I understood perfectly. Moreover, the extremely crushed and chelonian form of these constructions recall Aztec architecture, and not only superficially; what was there the sun is here the intellect and both are in contact with blood, with the powers of death.

Interior World War II Bunker, Atlantic Coast

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Michel Foucault. The Archeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language. 1971

Archaeology tries to define not the thoughts, representations, images, themes, preoccupations that are concealed or revealed in discourses; but those discourses themselves, those discourses as practices obeying certain rules. It does not treat discourse as document, as a sign of something else, as an element that ought to be transparent, but whose unfortunate opacity must often be pierced if one is to reach at last the depth of the essential in the place in which it is held in reserve; it is concerned with discourse in its own volume, as a monument. It is not an interpretative discipline: it does not seek another, better-hidden discourse. It refuses to be "allegorical."

200ft. Parabolic Wall, Dungeness, UK

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Paul Virilio. Bunker Archeology. 1975

A long history was curled up here. These concrete blocks were in fact the final throw-offs of the history of frontiers, from the Roman limes to the Great Wall of China; the bunkers, as ultimate military surface architecture, had shipwrecked at lands’ limits, at the precise moment of the sky’s arrival in war; they marked off the horizontal littoral, the continental limit. History had changed course one final time before jumping into the immensity of aerial space.

While most buildings are embanked in the terrain by their foundations, the casemate is devoid of any, aside from its center of gravity, which explains its possibility for limited movement when the surrounding ground undergoes the impact of projectiles. This is also the reason for our frequent discovery of certain upturned or tilted works, without serious damage.

World War II Artillery Storage Bunker, Atlantic Coast

Photo courtesy the author

W.G. Sebald. Austerlitz. 2001

No one today, said Austerlitz, has the faintest idea of the boundless amount of theoretical writings on the building of fortifications, of the fantastic nature of the geometric, trigonometric, and logistical calculations they record, of the inflated excesses of the professional vocabulary of fortification and siege-craft, no one now understands its simplest terms, escape and courtine, faussebraie, réduit, and glacis.

World War II Artillery Bunker, Atlantic Coast

Photo courtesy the author

Albert Speer. Inside the Third Reich. 1969

Hitler planned these defensive installations down to the smallest details. He even designed the various types of bunkers and pillboxes, usually in the hours of the night. The designs were only sketches, but they were executed with precision. Never sparing in self-praise, he often remarked that his designs ideally met all the requirements of a frontline soldier. They were adopted almost without revision by the general of the Corps of Engineers.

World War II Artillery Bunker, Atlantic Coast

Photo courtesy the author

Carl von Clausewitz. On War. 1816–30

The general action may therefore be regarded as war concentrated, as the centre of gravity of the whole war or campaign. As the sun’s rays unite in the focus of the concave mirror in a perfect image, and in the fullness of their heat; so the forces and circumstances of war, unite in a focus in the great battle for one concentrated utmost effort.

Concave Paraboloid Reflector, Dungeness, UK

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Eyal Weizman et al. Forensis. 2014

In modern languages, the singular ruin conserves a meaning very close to its Latin origin—ruina, "fall," ”co|lapse.” To designate the material traces of that event, the indefinite plural ruins is still preferred. This nuance too we inherited from Latin which, in coining the two-sided term, foresaw the stakes at its core and laid down the ground for a timeless problem: ruins can never be grasped as a single entity; made of uncountable links to pasts and futures, their hazy contours always refer to a plurality of potentials.

200ft. Parabolic Wall, Dungeness, UK

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Robert Smithson. “The Iconography of Desolation.” c.1962

The Fourth Dimension is simply the ruins of the Third Dimension.

Harald Szeemann
Science Fiction (Kunsthalle Bern) 1967
Broadsheet newspaper
In Monument as Ruin (Installation Image)
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

Photo courtesy the author

Thomas Pynchon. Gravity’s Rainbow. 1973

One night, in the rain, their laager stops for the night at a deserted research station, where the Germans, close to the end of the War, were developing a sonic death-mirror. Tall paraboloids of concrete are staggered, white and monolithic, across the plain. The idea was to set off an explosion in front of the paraboloid, at the exact focal point. The concrete mirror would then throw back a perfect shock wave to destroy anything in its path. Thousands of guinea pigs, dogs and cows were experimentally blasted to death here—reams of death-curve data were compiled. But the project was a lemon. Only good at short range, and you rapidly came to a falloff point where the amount of explosives needed might as well be deployed some other way. Fog, wind, hardly visible ripples or snags in the terrain, anything less than perfect conditions, could ruin the shock wave’s deadly shape. Still, Enzian can envision a war, a place for them, “a desert. Lure your enemy to a desert. The Kalahari. Wait for the wind to die.”

The Second Coming (video installation with 4m cement sonic reflector)
in Monument as Ruin (Installation Image)
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

Photo courtesy the author

Friedrich Kittler. Discourse Networks 1800/1900. 1985

Information technology is always already strategy or war.

IBM 5081 punch card from United States Air Force base, Thule, Greenland, used for controlling computer at Distant Early Warning radar outpost.

In Monument as Ruin (Installation Image)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

Photo courtesy the author


By Matthew Flintham

As a pho­to­graph­ic and the­o­ret­i­cal study of Nazi bunkers from the Atlantik­wall, Paul Virilio’s sem­i­nal book Bunker Archae­ol­o­gy (1975)1 is sure­ly the Ur-text for cur­rent artis­tic and spec­u­la­tive engage­ments with defen­sive archi­tec­ture from across the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry.2 Charles Stankievech’s cur­rent col­lec­tion of works and arti­facts, Mon­u­ment as Ruin (2015), com­mis­sioned for the Agnes Ether­ing­ton Art Cen­tre, is no excep­tion, clear­ly align­ing itself with Virilio’s con­cep­tions of the mil­i­tary ruin as a cryp­tic mark­er for the evo­lu­tion of mar­tial space.

Mon­u­ment as Ruin com­pletes a tril­o­gy of work relat­ing to the expand­ing, decen­tered, and dema­te­ri­al­iz­ing sphere of mil­i­tary influ­ence. The Dew Project (2009), for exam­ple, draws on the geo­des­ic dome as a means to study­ing Cold War ear­ly warn­ing sys­tems and the emer­gence of Net­work Cen­tric War­fare (NCW), and The Sonif­er­ous Æther of The Land Beyond The Land Beyond (2014) stun­ning­ly describes the archi­tec­ture and tech­nolo­gies of a remote Sig­nals Intel­li­gence sta­tion in extreme north­ern Canada.

While both these works inter­pret the manip­u­la­tion of the elec­tro­mag­net­ic spec­trum for ear­ly warn­ing and eaves­drop­ping pur­pos­es, Mon­u­ment as Ruin steps back to re-engage with the mate­ri­al­i­ty of war­fare, with con­crete as a medi­um of fron­tier defense and sur­veil­lance. Indeed, Stankievech’s com­mit­ment to under­stand­ing the mate­r­i­al prop­er­ties of con­crete is con­firmed by the pres­ence with­in the exhi­bi­tion of three scaled repro­duc­tions of Atlantik­wall bunkers, L’Aigle (Frag­ment 649, 636, 606). These frag­ments” are accom­pa­nied in the same room by three small­er objects of extrater­res­tri­al ori­gin, mete­orites which allude to a cos­mic or, per­haps, an escha­to­log­i­cal vio­lence infi­nite­ly greater than our own lim­it­ed attempts. Here we also find an unfold­ed copy of A. E Van Vogt’s 1939 novel­la, Black Destroy­er. The title alone is enough to sug­gest a reck­on­ing with a cos­mic intel­li­gence, an archi­tect of cat­a­clysmic destruc­tion. Two large pho­tographs by Stankievech, Mon­u­ment as Ruin (Wreck), a giant case­mate pitched improb­a­bly on a beach, and Mon­u­ment as Ruin (Earth), an immense par­a­bol­ic sound reflec­tor seen from behind, also allude to the mil­i­tary oth­er, whose aes­thet­ic fea­tures are sui gener­is,“3 utter­ly alien (at their time of con­cep­tion) to archi­tec­tur­al con­ven­tion or social func­tion. How­ev­er, the pres­ence near­by of an etch­ing by Pirane­si, Hadrian’s Vil­la: Apse of the so-called Hall of the Philoso­phers (1774)which bears a strik­ing resem­blance to the sound cap­tur­ing archi­tec­ture of the Earth” pho­to­graph — is clear­ly an attempt by Stankievech to posi­tion mil­i­tary archi­tec­ture with­in a deep­er, ancient her­itage.4

A scaled down, con­crete repro­duc­tion of the British WW1 sound reflec­tor dom­i­nates the adja­cent space. Orig­i­nal­ly built to col­lect and ampli­fy the oth­er­wise inaudi­ble sounds of dis­tant air­craft across the Eng­lish Chan­nel, Stankievech’s ver­sion receives the sounds of mul­ti­reedist com­pos­er Col­in Stet­son. This is mil­i­tary tech­nol­o­gy designed in the cold pan­ic of an emerg­ing aer­i­al, ver­ti­cal war­fare, but repur­posed by Stankievech to enhance it’s son­ic, col­lab­o­ra­tive poten­tial — a receiv­er and reflec­tor of cul­tur­al research and production.

As a col­lec­tion of curat­ed works in situ, Mon­u­ment as Ruin oper­ates as an obser­va­to­ry, a plat­form of sta­sis from which we might assess the mate­r­i­al and imma­te­r­i­al dimen­sions of human mil­i­tarism. How­ev­er, with Stankievech, we are also adrift in the abyss of deep time, wit­ness­ing the rede­ploy­ment of ancient min­er­als in the ser­vice of war­fare, their sub­se­quent obso­les­cence and degra­da­tion, and also the trans­mis­sions of invis­i­ble emis­sions that will echo through space into a dis­tant, non-human future.



Paul Vir­ilio, Bunker Archae­ol­o­gy, trans­lat­ed by George Collins (New York, NY: Prince­ton Archi­tec­tur­al Press, 1994). First pub­lished as Bunker archéolo­gie (Paris, France: Cen­tre Georges Pom­pi­dou, Cen­tre de créa­tion indus­trielle, 1975).


See, for exam­ple, Allo­ra & Calzadil­la’s sculpture/​performance Clam­or (2006), which fus­es bunker archi­tec­ture, rock for­ma­tions, and musi­cal instru­ments accom­pa­nied by a cacoph­o­nous sound­track of mil­i­taris­tic music. See also Jane and Louise Wilson’s film Sealan­der (2006) and their pho­tographs of Atlantic Wall bunkers.


Paul Hirst, Space and Pow­er: Pol­i­tics, War, and Archi­tec­ture (Cam­bridge, MA: Poli­ty, 2005), 215.


Stankievech is cor­rect, mil­i­tary archi­tec­ture has a lost or secret” his­to­ry which is evi­dent in the Organ­i­sa­tion Todt’s Nazi bunkers but stretch­es back via the great crys­talline trace ital­i­enne for­ti­fi­ca­tions of the 17th and 18th cen­turies and the great cas­tles of Europe, the Mid­dle East, and Asia to the work of Vit­ru­vius him­self in the Roman era.



Charles Stankievech is an artist and writer whose research explores the notion of field­work” in the embed­ded land­scape, the mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex, and the his­to­ry of tech­nol­o­gy. He has exhib­it­ed work and lec­tured inter­na­tion­al­ly at lead­ing venues, includ­ing the Louisiana Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, Copen­hagen; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; HKW: Haus der Kul­turen der Welt, Berlin; TBA21: Thyssen-Borne­misza Art Con­tem­po­rary, Vien­na; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for Archi­tec­ture, Mon­tréal; Doc­u­men­ta 13, Kas­sel, and the Venice Archi­tec­ture, Venice Art, SITE San­ta Fe, and Berlin Bien­ni­als. He is co-direc­tor of the art and the­o­ry press K. in Berlin and an edi­tor for After­all (Lon­don). He is cur­rent­ly Direc­tor of Visu­al Stud­ies in the Fac­ul­ty of Archi­tec­ture, Land­scape and Design at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. Email: charles@​stankievech.​net

Matthew Flintham is an artist and writer spe­cial­iz­ing in the hid­den geo­gra­phies of mil­i­ta­riza­tion, secu­ri­ty and sur­veil­lance. He has a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art from Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins, an M.A. in Human­i­ties and Cul­tur­al Stud­ies from the Lon­don Con­sor­tium, and a Ph.D. in Visu­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions from the Roy­al Col­lege of Art. His work inter­sects aca­d­e­m­ic and arts prac­tices, explor­ing spec­u­la­tive rela­tion­ships between archi­tec­ture, pow­er, and place and the pos­si­bil­i­ties for arts meth­ods to reveal hid­den or imma­te­r­i­al rela­tions in the land­scape. Dur­ing 2014, he was Lev­er­hulme Artist-in-Res­i­dence in the School of Geog­ra­phy, Pol­i­tics and Soci­ol­o­gy (GPS) at New­cas­tle Uni­ver­si­ty, and he is cur­rent­ly Research Asso­ciate at the Cen­tre for Archi­tec­ture and the Visu­al Arts (CAVA) at Liv­er­pool Uni­ver­si­ty. His research has been fea­tured in Mil­i­ta­rized Land­scapes: From Get­tys­burg to Sal­is­bury Plain (Con­tin­u­um, 2010), Tate Papers 17, and Emerg­ing Land­scapes: Between Pro­duc­tion and Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (Ash­gate, 2014). He lives in Lon­don. Email: matthewflintham@​hotmail.​com