Written by Guest Blogger: Brett Leigh Dicks
It’s done – 62 matted and framed photographic prints have been packed into the back of a rented Dodge Grand Caravan for the twelve-day, 4.600 km trek to Ottawa, Canada.

On August 2 an exhibition of my photographs documenting abandoned nuclear missile bases – both here in the United States and in Eastern Europe – will open at the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. Titled “Opposing Forces: Photographs of Decommissioned Nuclear Bases,” the 12 days of driving that lay ahead of us is nothing compared to an exhibition that has been 18 years in the making.
This entire endeavor actually started with a song. I was in Hamburg, Germany for an exhibition of my photographs at Die Galerie von Eduard Raab and as fate should have it Calexico was also in town. The beautifully eclectic Tucson-based band was on its Hot Rail Tour and had brought Mariachi Luz de Luna along for the ride.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJJ67kTJK-8&w=560&h=315]
Fabrik was packed and about four or five songs into the set the band played a song off the new album. Over the top of the composition’s uneasily eerie soundscape came a swath of equally perturbing lyrics …
“Sonic Wind, honing in, on a tune that no one can hear. Perfect pitch, simple glitch, promises it would never appear,” sang Calexico frontman Joey Burns.
A subsequent discussion with Joey revealed the song was inspired by a decommissioned, but preserved Titan II ICBM installation that sits buried in the desert just south of Tucson. Previously oblivious to the nuclear arsenal that once ringed the city, this revelation sparked my curiosity.

What does America do with its nuclear missile once they have surpassed their use-by dates? And what of their Soviet counterparts?
My fascination with a four-minute song morphed into a 20-year project. Across the ensuing years I researched, hunted down, and photographed over 100 abandoned nuclear missile bases. The project has taken me across the United States and Eastern Europe upon multiple occasions, but it isn’t finished yet.
While the exhibition at the Diefenbunker will feature images from a range of different ballistic missile bases, the travels that will take me there will include visits to a variety of other decommission missile bases, Cold War installations, and nuclear-related sites.
In the coming weeks the Diefenbunker will be posting updates and images of this adventure. The exhibition is packed, the cameras are loaded, and we’re about to hit the road. Stay tuned …


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Diefenbunker Introduces new Visitor Experience Manager
Livin’ the Guide Life
Artifact by Air
Snow Day? S’No Problem! Strengthen your spy skills with these at home crafts!
100 years ago, the guns fell silent.
Artifacts and Archives: Behind the Scenes
"The mountains opened, and two missiles appeared into the sky.”
Light in Blast Tunnel
There’s been an incident at the Bunker.
Thankful for Freedom: A Cold War Thanksgiving
Dash for Survival: Olympian Edition
Welcome to the Undead Army
Unconventional Spaces: Renting the Diefenbunker
Igor Gouzenko: The Anniversary of his Defection
75 feet under: Behind-the-Scenes in the Machine Room
EIGHT: Arrival
SEVEN: Renewed Topographics
SIX: The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex
FIVE: Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site
FOUR: Mt. Rushmore and the greatness of hope
THREE: The Power of the Atom – Idaho’s Experimental Breeder Reactor I
Who needs Vesper, when you have Moores?
TWO: Wendover Airfield – Home of the Enola Gay
ONE: Bye Bye Blackbirds – Cold War Relics in the Californian Desert
Blog: Spy Camp Week 1, The Art of Espionage
Diefenbunker Appoints a New Executive Director
Adventures from the Coldest Part of the Cold War- ONLY 2 DAYS AWAY!!
Marc Adornato’s Ruined Landscapes- Opening April 5, 2018 at the Bunker!
Mission Report- Easter at the Bunker
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Introducing Agent ‘H’
Book Now