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From group exhibition: Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

24 January - 3 May 2015

Video (duration: 7 minutes)

(TOI) Track of Interest: Exercise Vigilant Eagle 13 considers the Cold War specter of nuclear war and continuing tensions between East-West global alliances. Staged across Alaskan and Russian airspace by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF), Mary Kavanagh flew on the “track of interest,” a civilian jet under attack during a live-fly, simulated hijacking in Exercise Vigilant Eagle 13. This elaborate tri-national exercise was the fourth in a series of military collaborations between Russia, Canada, and United States conceived post 9/11 designed to enhance their interagency partnerships. In 2014, following the War in Donbas, all such collaborations were cancelled.

Structured as a sequence of double images, the film pairs footage of military forces with powerful natural forces of the Alaskan North. Nearly a decade after its production, questions examined in the film around geopolitical dominance and environmental fragility are thrown into relief.

A participant in the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) (2012-13), Kavanagh visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and the Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF). CFAP is a uniquely designed war art program adjudicated by leading arts professionals in Canada. Participants are embedded alongside military personnel and receive extensive orientation to experience the Canadian Forces in action on the international stage.

View video: Track of Interest: Exercise Vigilant Eagle 13

TRACK OF INTEREST: EXERCISE VIGILANT EAGLE 13

MARY KAVANAGH   © 2023 Mary Kavanagh