Senior Project Information:

This series of prints and photographs was made for my senior art project, which I received honors for. I graduated from Colgate University in May of 2006, with a double concentration in Studio Art and Peace and Conflict Studies. The show was up from April 19, 2006 until May 21, 2006, in the Clifford Gallery at Little Hall.

Click here for the project homepage

For pictures of the installation, click here.

Copies of all prints are available in any of three formats:
- Hand-printed on Stonehenge paper, 4" x 6", numbered and signed on the back
- Commercially-printed postcards on cardstock
- All of the prints bound together in book format (example to be posted soon)
Please e-mail, write, or call for more information.

Artist's Statement:

In our quest for dominance as a military superpower, we have, in a manner of speaking, invaded our own country. In New York today - even after the massive number of base closures that followed the end of the Cold War - active military sites take up 155,542.05 acres, about one half of one percent of the state's total land area. In creating this work, I have been interested in understanding this invasion of civil space - examining the locus of the intersection of military maneuvering and civilian existence. The places depicted in this series of postcard prints are all sites of Cold War military operations, installations that were built in a techno-scientific frenzy of modernist reason, a Fortress America made up of radar and concrete. Most were subsequently shut down during the reorganization of military infrastructure in the mid-1990's.

My own exploration of the landscape of the military operating environment involved researching, visiting, and photographing the sites, carving linoleum blocks, and printing the final images. In appropriating the form of the postcard, I am both utilizing and upsetting the traditional signification of the genre. While each of my postcards remains an object of communication and dissemination, the image and associated caption do not operate in exactly the same manner as do those of the usual card. The landscape represented on the "picture" side is not Disney World or the Eiffel Tower. Rather, it is a view of a slightly desolate hilltop in Ava, New York, or the abandoned architecture of the Floyd or Verona test sites. The combination of images and texts disrupt the usual reading of the sign system, requiring a renegotiation of one's interpretation of their meaning. The prints of these sites are visually and formally compelling, while remaining quite stark in their aesthetic. They document my experience of the place, but are not uniquely personal. The spaces they depict have an ambiguous and uncertain nature.

Our understanding of a landscape or a place, seen through the channels of representation or in person, is invariably a limited and mediated interpretation. What we see is simply what we see, and many layers of history and information lie hidden and out of sight. An empty field may be the place where soldiers learn to drive tanks. A subdivision may be the site of a former anti-aircraft missile battery. To borrow a phrase from Paul Virilio, most of these sites exemplify the aesthetics of disappearance, a visual process of mutation and entropy in which history and use are slowly immersed in cycles of erosion and sedimentation, and careful excavation is required for understanding.

- Click here for a map of Colgate.
- Click here for a scan of the senior projects card.


All work by Stephen MacLellan | Cambridge, MA 02140
stephen {at}