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Dawn at 50 feet
Photograph printed on Fuji Pearl Metallic archival
This print series belongs to the larger body of work ‘Spectres of Shortwave,’ which includes a feature length film, and a variety of art installations, performances, and sound pieces, all incorporating documentation of the Radio Canada International (RCI) shortwave towers.
Creation of ‘Spectres of Shortwave’ spanned a 7-year period (2009 – 2016), and was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Arts Board of New Brunswick, and the National Film Board of Canada, among other funding agencies. Creative work on this project was developed during artist residencies at Studio Prim in Montreal, Wave Farm Transmission Arts in upstate New York, and at the Millenium Film Workshop in New York City. After embarking upon this project, the RCI site was defunded, decommissioned, and slated for demolition, so ‘Spectres of Shortwave’ was then extended to include documentation of the historic site’s demolition.
Built during World War 2 for broadcasts to Europe and Africa, the Radio Canada International shortwave relay site played a significant role in worldwide communications history. RCI continued to broadcast around the world during the Cold War, not only for Canada, but also relaying transmissions for Radio Free Europe. Located in Sackville, New Brunswick, it was perfectly positioned to transmit across the Atlantic Ocean, and covered most of the globe with its transmissions. It was the only high power shortwave relay station in Canada. After major budget cuts in 2012, it was announced that the site would be shut down. The last Canadian international shortwave broadcast was sent in June of 2012, the final international relays were sent in October 2012, the last arctic broadcast (and the final broadcast to ever transmit from this site) was sent in November 2012. Demolition of the towers and other exterior structures took place between January and April 2014.
During the course of ‘Spectres of Shortwave’ production, over 10,000 photographs were taken of the RCI site. These include photographs that were captured while climbing two of the towers, close-ups of the infrastructure itself, and documentation of the demolition.
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