Projects home

Soniferous Aether



Monument as Ruin is a project completing the trinity of sites that maps the decentralization of warfare across the 20th century via early warning outposts: from WWI sound experiments, through WWII visual command bunkers, to Cold War electromagnetic radar stations.


click on images to download material  


A collection of textual fragments – in the style of the Jena Romantics' "Fragmente aus der Zukunft" – is framed by two essays that trace the history of 20th century military Early Warning Systems. Dr. David Murakimi Wood, Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Surveillance & Society, writes a detailed history of British wireless telegraphy outposts from his research in the National Archives. Charles Stankievech through his fieldwork outlines the architectural shifts in Early Warning Systems starting with WWI sound paraboloids, through WWII cement bunkers, into Cold War geodesic radar domes.

Originally designed to be embedded inside the exhibition Monument as Ruin, the "Fragmente aus der Zukunft" functioned as footnotes to the spatial argument as developed in the material and media of the exhibition--highlighting the exhibition as principle research method. For the reader, the bricolage of literary and theoretic fragments form a ruinous texutal landscape for the flaneur to wander through, encountering fields as various as military documents, modernist poetry, science fiction, critical theory and scientific papers, including: Clarice Lispector, J. G. Ballard, Ikhwan al Safa, Fernando Pessoa, Friedrich Schlegel, Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Arthur Schopenhauer, Theodor Adorno, Gilles Deleuze, Robert Smithson, Lucy Lippard, W. G. Sebald, Ernst Jünger, Paul Virilio, Laurence Sterne, Joseph Heller, A. E. van Vogt, Fredric Jameson, Ursula K, Le Guin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Pynchon, Virginia Woolf, Georges Bataille, Jeremy Bentham, Michel Foucault, Albert Speer, Albert Einstein, Robert Smithson, Blaise Pascal, Carl von Clausewitz, US Army, Eyal Weizman, Reza Negarestani, Ezra Pound, Marshall Mcluhan, Friedrich Kittler, Paul N. Edwards, Julian Assange and others.

The design of the publication plays with Harald Szeeman's original catalogue for the Science Fiction exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern from 1967. Printing includes a unique metallic and black overprinting on newsprint.

Edition: 2000
Broadsheet: 22 3/4" x 17" on premium newsprint Duotone: Metallic & Black Ink

The Centre Cannot Hold is a co-publication of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University &
K. Verlag | Press.

ISBN: 987-1-55339-407-5

Download PDF here.



The Centre Cannot Hold, Devient Devices, 40.1 Perceive Issue.

Reprint of Stankievech's essay with additional photographs

Deviant Devices won the
International Committee of Architectural Critics's
2020 Pierre Vago Journalism Award

View excerpt online here and order print.






forty-five Journal

Charles Stankievech and Matthew Flintham

PeerReview Academic Publication of Stankievech's Project accompanied by Flintham's textual review.


Download PDF here.




Continent Continent Journal

Charles Stankievech and Paul Boshears

Academic Journal with essay by Boshears on Stankievech and publicatin of three related projects: Soniferous Æther, DEW and Monument as Ruin

Download PDF here.


Canadian Art

Charles Stankievech and the Art of Surveillance

Exhibition Review

Download PDF Here.



Surveillance Studies Centre / Queens University

Panel Discussion “Early Warning Systems”

David Murakami Wood and Charles Stankievech


As an extension of the  exhibition, Monument as Ruin, Canadian artist Charles Stankievech and Queen’s Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies David Murakami Wood discuss signals intelligence in historical and political context. They will contextualize three types of early warning systems as an archeology of 20th-century warfare: Sound, Vision, and Electromagnetic, pre- and post-WWII. Discussion will range across aesthetics, science fiction narratives, and the necessity and abuse of spying in relation to architectures and infrastructures of surveillance from the Cold War to signals intelligence of today.

View Details.


The Power Plant

International Lecture Series

Charles Stankievech:
Communication and Non-Communication Amongst the Cephalopods

Nov. 21, 2017

Charles Stankievech, artist, assistant professor, and director of the Visual Studies Program at University of Toronto, will share his insights on the history of the acoustic mirrors used along the English coastline, which Amalia Pica reconstructs in her Fall 2017 exhibition at The Power Plant, ears to speak of.

View Details.