The Unblinking Eye: 55 Years of Space Operations on Fylingdales Moor

The Unblinking Eye: 55 Years of Space Operations on Fylingdales Moor makes public for the first time objects from RAF Fylingdales Archive alongside new works by Dr. Michael Mulvihill.

Dr. Mulvihill has been the first Artist in Residence at RAF Fylingdales (2016-2019) as part of an AHRC Northern Bridge PhD between the School of Arts and Cultures and School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University.

The exhibition presents new research on the history and affects of RAF Fylingdales in local, national and international contexts, highlighting North York Moors integral role in international space monitoring and cultural legacy of the iconic ‘golf balls’.

The exhibition is structured in three sections: Drawing + RCA presents RCA trade magazines, architectural drawings of the original geodesic domes from 1963 as well as drawings by Dr. Mulvihill. This section highlights the relationship between RCA records and the development of RAF Fylingdales; Space Operations shows photographs and sculptures from the RAF Fylingdales archive alongside drawings that reflect upon the station’s entangled role of monitoring 49,000 objects, including the international space station, in orbit around the Earth and Ballistic missile early warning; Art + Archive at RAF Fylingdales in this section the interconnections and relationships between RAF Fylingdales and North American mid-century modern art are explored, highlighting the unexpected relationships between aesthetics of modern art and the operational practice of early warning monitoring.

Alongside the exhibition there are a series of public programme events outlined below and an exhibition catalogue. Public Programme Remembering the Golf Balls: Saturday 31st August 12.00-16.00 Drop-in Oral History Collection A one-day event in which the public will share their accounts and stories of RAF Fylingdales from early construction to contemporary operations. It is intended that this event will build the foundations of an oral history archive of space and deterrence operations on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Military Landscapes: Sunday 8th September 11.00-14.00 Dr Michael Mulvihill and Professor Rachel Woodward (human geographer specializing in military geographies, Newcastle University) will lead a walk along the Lyke Wake Walk towards RAF Fylingdales. The walk will make visible the complex phenomenological impressions and interactions the military and space radar has upon the landscape and environment of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

The Unblinking Eye: Thursday 19th September 18.00-19.30 Public talk Dr. Michael Mulvihill (Artist in Residence at RAF Fylingdales) and Professor Richard Clay Professor of Digital Cultures Newcastle University discuss the artist residency, the making of the BBC Four radio programme Two Minutes to Midnight, exploring why we are no longer afraid of nuclear annihilation, and whether we should be.

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