Wise Men Scan the Land
This is an ongoing project
Wise Men Scan the Land explores the boundaries of military action in Canada, reflecting closely on the visibility of the effects and consequences. The project encourages the viewer to expand their spatial and temporal boundaries of war by exploring Canada’s role in military research, development and production and the link between land, military and the environment.
The project uses images from the Library and Archives of Canada to examine historical actions that Canada has taken, such as the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, whose legacy is one of harm instead of protection, leaving contamination that continue to affect communities today. Using images from the Rosemary Gilliat Eaton arctic travel series, the Alex Jerry Saley Distant Early Warning Line collection, and National Film Board War Records fonds, the project encourages the viewer to examine the perspective of the images. Created by photographers who worked on the DEW line or funded by governmental institutions, the images depict the Canadian military's historical actions in northern Canada. In addition, a significant amount of the images are part of the We Are Here: Sharing Stories, a Libary and Archives of Canada initiative that works to digitize records relating to indigenous culture and language, making them more accessible for reference.
Wise Men Scan the Land uses remote sensing technology that has been primarily reserved for battlefield intelligence to turn the camera back on the land, exploring the sites of defence production and military installations in Canada. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an imaging tool used extensively by militaries to map the battlefield; the thirteen-foot collage combines images of various sites of defence research, production and military installations in Canada. Overlayed are images of places of defence research and production, both historical and contemporary.
The project aims to examine past actions taken, raising questions of perspective and authority. Wise Men Scan the Land encourages the viewer to consider recent actions by reflecting on past actions and the consequences that continue to be felt today.