Work > Missile Landscapes

Turning Tales featuring the 2017-2018 Kala Veterans Residency Program
Turning Tales featuring the 2017-2018 Kala Veterans Residency Program

This work consists of two photographs of deactivated American military sites: Battery Guthrie (built to defend the San Francisco Harbor in 1904 and deactivated in 1948) and Nike Missile Site SF-88 (active between 1954 and 1974). The images explore the transformation of landscapes into images that both contain and obscure militarized networks of command and control, and the permanent scars that these networks leave on the earth.

The images are informed by my own experiences; of the kind of passive attention that turned my body into a soldier’s body, a receptive node within a web of signals with no message. When I came upon these abandoned sites, I tried to place myself within these structures, but was confronted instead by my absence from them and by the way they persisted as built structures long after they are no longer manned by soldiers. Today, tourists, military enthusiasts, and curiosity seekers visit them instead.

By reproducing them in photographs, I wanted to make them visible as structures of war. Making them visible emphasizes the ways in which their integration into a landscape of tourism occludes the parts they played in a history of war that is still ongoing on a global scale. In a sense, they still transmit the history of war, but there is no longer anyone stationed to receive these messages.