North Warning System is Donovan Wylie’s third and final book of photographs on the theme of vision and power in military architecture and draws a close to The Tower Series. Surveying a radar station just inside the Canadian Arctic, the photographer examines the detection of invisible threats through unmanned observation posts in remote regions.
The development of long-range bombers and missiles after the Second World War made Canada’s arctic frontier vulnerable to attack from the air. This forced Canada and the United States jointly to construct a matrix of short and long-range radar stations in the 1950s. Known as the Distant Early Warning Line, these stations provided electronic observation and surveillance capability across Canada’s northern frontier throughout the Cold War. In the 1990s, these stations were upgraded to form the North Warning System (NWS) which is increasingly active—as international maritime traffic develops throughout the north, so does military presence. In North Warning System, whiteness takes on the quality of a blank canvas, a metaphor for the sweep of history.
About the Artist
Northern Irish photographer Donovan Wylie (born 1971) began taking photographs in his teens. Donovan Wylie based in Belfast. His work chronicles what he calls “the concept of vision as power in the architecture of contemporary conflict” – prison, army watchtowers and outposts, and listening stations – “merging documentary and art photography”.
About the Publisher
Gerhard Steidl began working as a printer and designer in 1968. From political non-fiction he then expanded into literature and selected books on art and photography. Steidl publishes German literature as well as translations from French, English and Icelandic.In 1994 Steidl launched its international photobook program. Today it includes some of the world’s most renowned photographers and artists including Joel Sternfeld, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Robert Adams, Karl Lagerfeld, Lewis Baltz, Dayanita Singh, Ed Ruscha, Roni Horn and Juergen Teller, to name but a few. Every Steidl book distinguishes itself through individual design and production values. Known for his passion for paper, printer and publisher Gerhard Steidl personally selects the paper and binding materials for each title and oversees all aspects of the production process – each Steidl book literally passes through his hands. Over the decades Steidl at Düstere Strasse 4 in Göttingen has become one of the most respected printers in the international publishing world. Whether photography, art, fashion or literature, it is Steidl’s goal to realize the dreams and goals of artists and authors, and to create art in book form.