ONS | Introduction

Operation Northern Shield (ONS) is a speculative research project that hypothesizes  the establishment of  new urban settlements in the Canadian north.

Inspired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s well-publicized obsession with Canadian sovereignty in the far north—not to mention its wealth of resources and economic potential—ONS looks to the inhabitants of a new polar colony, its adventurous test subjects, to offer a few perspectives on life in this designed community, its utopian premise and dystopian promise.

Using a variety of textual and pictorial strategies–essays, fictions, diary entries, statistics, news, original photographs and stock imagry (as well as typically bureaucratic  dissemination formats and the rhetoric of right-wing protectionism), ONS is at once a settlement strategy, national security plan, case history and feasibility study.  TheONS mandate promotes the value of robust individualism, frontier ingenuity and vigorous outdoor exercise, not to mention an unwavering faith in the new. ONS finds inspiration in igloo architecture, paraglacial phenomena, extreme survival sports and cutting-edge resource management. It combines the metaphoric allure of escape typified by the north with the paradoxical necessity of survival,socialization and community.


Operation Northern Shield | presentations, publications, expeditions, events
Dandelion magazine: The Mapping Issue, Calgary, July 2011
Magnetic Norths
, Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal, February 2010
Research expedition to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territory and Purple Haze (A-side): Ghost Rocket World Tour, New Year’s Eve 2009/2010
Research expedition to Inuvik, Northwest Territory, September 2009
Icecubicle.ca, Dawson City, June 2009.
Petite enveloppe urbaine #17: Architectural Follies, Centre de recherche urbain de Montreal, November 2008