The Cold War ended in 1991, but it’s reverberations continue to this day. One example of this are Numbers stations, shortwave radio broadcasts of coded messages believed to be intended for undercover agents. While the height of their activity was during some of the tensest periods of the twentieth century these stations continue to operate today, transmitting their oblique messages to persons unknown.

Shadows of the State adapts open source research and satellite image interpretation techniques in order to investigate these mysterious broadcasts and to locate the likely transmitter sites of thirty of these stations. These sites are then mapped using high resolution satellite imagery and the signals themselves are made visible to in the form of radio spectrograms alongside recordings and extensive information about each station.

Shadows of the State is partly about the possibility of turning the practices and technologies of espionage back against their users, and in doing so bringing some light and accountability to a world which exists in stark contrast to these things. But it is also about the difficulties of exploring a topic where certainty is almost impossible to come by, and where paranoia and conspiracy collide constantly with objective fact.

Shortlisted for the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2015, the Bar Tur Book Award 2015, Self-Publish Riga Dummy Award 2016 and the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2016. Forthcoming in 2017 from Brave Books. Featured in Wired, Vice, Huck Magazine , Featureshoot , GUP Magazine, The Week.

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Lewis Bush