David Trautrimas Statement

Artist Statement
The Spyfrost Project is my most ambitious to date: a series of fictional, top secret military installations derived from Cold War industrial design. These imagined military outposts, fashioned from consumer goods that capture the zeitgeist of that era, such as refrigerators and lawn mowers, will be re-imagined as hitherto unknown Cold War experiments. Within the narrative of this series, these Skunkwork structures are the hypothesized origins of appliances that eventually trickled down to the public as common household goods.

Balanced between the promised utopian culture of leisure, facilitated by what the latest in modern manufacturing had to offer and the threat of a global catastrophe wrought by ICBM's, super sonic jet fighters, and spy satellites, this series elicits the tense equilibrium between the extremes of design and technology during the Cold War era. Critical to these works is the representation of both forces within each composition, as these devices of destruction are assembled from the very appliances that promised deliverance to a post WWII paradise. As Nixon said to Khrushchev at the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959, "... would it not be better to compete in the relative merits of washing machines than in the strength of rockets?" Within this series the consumerism vs. militarism conflict is expressed as an inextricable paradox within each composition.

Process Statement
To create these Cold War structures, suitable source materials — such as the previously mentioned refrigerators and lawn mowers — are completely dismantled and photographed, then, by digital means, meticulously reassembled into strikingly original structures. This technique is a continuation of the process used in my previous two bodies of work; those being residential and industrial structures, respectively.

The most dramatic evolution from my previous work is the process for creating the landscape of each structure. For this new series great effort has been taken to photograph landscapes throughout North America that have a direct connection to the narrative of the series. I've travelled from one of the epicenters of Cold War activity, Los Alamos and the state of New Mexico, to more regional locales, such as Prince Edward County, home to many Avro Arrow tests, and abandoned Pine Tree and D.E.W radar bases in Central and Northern Ontario. Each location was thoroughly documented, allowing the fictional bases to be situated in the real landscape of the North American Cold War experience.

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