Saturday, May 18, 2024


Our Cosmological History Gouache on paper 56 x76 cm unframed 2024

I have not posted for some time! But, there's news! A painting in an exhibition, and a published commentary piece in Digital War Journal. As the commentary piece, "Light-speed, Contemporary War, and Australia's National Defence Strategic Review", is open access, I invite you to read it at this link 
I was thrilled when the editors encouraged me to include two of my paintings. 

Our Cosmological History (above) is a new painting. It is currently in an exhibition Duality - an artistic exploration of quantum science, in Sydney at Flow Studios, Camperdown, until May 20, 2024. The exhibition is hosted by The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS)

The exhibition includes the finalists and winners of the EQUS 'Quantum Art Competition', plus other selected artworks from entries. Very happy to say, Our Cosmological History is in the selected group. The finalist works and the extra selected works look like a high quality, engaging group of artworks, all responding to EQUS's invitation to "artists to explore quantum science through their medium of choice, drawing inspiration from the competition theme, ‘duality’".

More information about the competition and the exhibition, plus talks and workshops, is available at the EQUS exhibition webpage.

This is the artist's statement I sent when I entered the competition.

‘Our Cosmological History’ is a painting that tries to envisage the universal history of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), and humankind’s increasing reliance upon EMS frequencies for accelerating civilian and military technological needs. The red firecracker-like markings represent the Big Bang, and the ‘birth’ of photons within ten seconds. The dotted wavy lines represent the dual particle-wave nature of photons. I have painted seven wavy lines, from longer waves to shorter waves, to indicate EMS frequencies from radio to gamma waves, all travelling at lightspeed. This visualisation of normally invisible EMS frequencies (except the light spectrum) is augmented by painted symbols for photons (y) and lightspeed (c). A swathe of stars provides a background for a universal cosmic-scape that reveals macro and micro forces. The stars and the painted EMS frequencies appear to continue beyond the painting’s edges. This is my way of visualising that the universe and the EMS are around us, and continue beyond us, including into future history. 

Humankind’s sphere of influence, from Earth to orbiting satellites, is apparent. The pale blue dot (after Sagan) is a focal point. The sphere around the dot-Earth represents the commons where humankind harnesses the lightspeed forces of the EMS to enable connectivity, interconnectivity, operability, and interoperability of a bourgeoning array of civilian and military
technological systems and devices. ‘Our Cosmological History’, painted for EQUS, expresses awe at the wonders of the universe. At the same time, it questions how we harness powerful natural resources in an increasingly connected and volatile world.

Cheers, Kathryn

Friday, January 19, 2024


AI Ghosts Gouache on paper 56 x 75 cm 2024

This painting was inspired by thinking about AI generated avatars, replicas, proxies, simulations and fakes. I've tried to right more, but like our looping - if not loopy - world - I kept on going in circles. And, endless looping is not helpful, so I broke it!

It's now up to you to ask the questions! Indeed, the painted binary code at the bottom of the painting 'instructs' multiple question marks (?). 

Cheers, Kathryn

Sunday, January 14, 2024


Why War? Gouache on paper 56 x76 cm 2024

Why War? is a question-painting or a painting-question. 

I have just finished my creative practice-lead PhD*. My research focused on increasing military interest in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), as an enabler of technology, a type of weapon, a manoeuvre space, and a domain. In the contemporary era, geographically-based kinetic warfare and new modes of warfare, such as, information, remote operations, electronic, and electromagnetic warfare, rely upon signalic connectivity and interconnectivity for operability and interoperability of systems and devices. War now exceeds geography, extending its operational apparatus and outcomes across the world, and from land to orbiting satellites. It is vitally important, though, to remember that in active kinetic war zones, the horror of war remains physically bloody and destructive.

Planetary war
In the age of algorithms, light-speed signalic connectivity, increasingly autonomous systems, airborne drones, and generative AI, Why War? presents contemporary war as planetary and space-based. Military technological reliance on the EMS martialises the environment from Earth to orbiting satellites. Significantly, this same techno-environment is also crucial for civilian technological operations. 

In the painting the Earth is formed by red dots and painted binary code 'instructing' a ? (question mark). This white code is cross-hatched with lines - perhaps revelations of signals ricocheting around the world? The white-dotted area surrounding the 'planet' is the Earth-to-orbiting-satellite environment. This environment is punctuated with painted binary code 'instructing' the word WAR. The zeros and ones encompass the planet, at the same time as occupying the space between land and orbiting satellites.

The red and white dots could be interpreted as photons, the elemental particles that make up electromagnetic frequencies. All EMS frequencies consist of photons travelling at the speed-of-light in wave patterns. The light spectrum is the only frequency visible to the unaided human eye. But, the dots may not be photons - maybe they are bullet holes, bomb sites, smart-device hacks, social media disinformation dissemination? The dark shapes that surround the 'Earth' could be read as debris, or perhaps stealth space-craft, or maybe visual metaphors for danger? These shapes also appear in a few previous paintings  - THE CLOUD IS NOT A CLOUD, Force MultiplicationGhost Sky, and Ghost Shadows.

Cosmological perspective
The cosmological perspective taken in Why War? is an example of my imaginational metaveillance* approach and practice. Without the aid of augmenting devices I fly in imagination, and ask you, the viewer, to fly too. As you fly way beyond Earth, what do you see? Imaginational metaveillance is a play with perspective - literal, imagined and metaphoric.

Maybe I have painted a photon, rather than the Earth? 

Questions are important!

*You can access my PhD thesis: 
Drones, Signals, and the techno-Colonisation of Landscape
at Curtin's espace 
My thesis includes a chapter on imaginational metaveillance. 



Friday, January 05, 2024


 The Cloud is Not a Cloud gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2024

The Cloud - Swarm?
With The Cloud is Not a Cloud I wanted to pose questions about the contemporary 'Cloud' as a weaponisable and weaponised system. I was thinking about swarming technology, pondering whether the techno-Cloud, enabling complex arrays of services and capabilities, could be described as a dexterous swarm with both benign and malign latencies. However, is the techno-Cloud the swarm or the swarm enabler? Or maybe its a swarm that can spawn more swarms? The proliferation of misinformation, disinformation and fake news/images across social media is an example of this conception of swarming. 

While the techno-Cloud is underpinned by bricks and mortar, for example, buildings housing massive computer infrastructure, relay nodes dotted across the landscape and space, and other tangible devices, I am particularly interested in the invisible infrastructure. Here, I am referring to signals that ensure connectivity, interconnectivity and interoperability of devices and systems. 

Signals carrying codified data and instructions are visualised in The Cloud is Not a Cloud as lines connecting ambiguous looking shapes. Their multiple sharp edges could indicate a not-so-friendly environment, a protective stance, tactical readiness or strategic preparedness. Could The Cloud is Not a Cloud be a visualisation of military preparedness, geopolitical alignments, force posturing? Are we projecting onto the techno-Cloud fears of geo-political instability, and the type of war that needs no physical invasion? 

Red and White
I have used red and white to indicate potentialities, such as, attack, vulnerability, disguise, stealth, blood. I have deliberately implied that the colours could oscillate or merge, depending on politics, technological resilience, or non-resilience. Like many of my paintings, The Cloud is Not a Cloud can be viewed from multiple perspectives - from above, as if you are flying over the sea; from below, as if you are peering through 'clouds' to a blue sky; in front of or behind, as if you are about to walk into a spider's web...

As always, there's a lot more to think about. But, I will leave it to you now...


Previous Posts of Interest.
The Cloud is Not a Cloud visually references some other recent paintings where I have painted odd patterns that echo the shapes of airborne drones, munitions, debris. You can see these paintings on these blog links Force MultiplicationGhost Sky, and Ghost Shadows.

Since 2015 I have painted many paintings that refer to the techno-Cloud. You can search my BLOG by typing the word 'cloud' in the top left box above Art @ Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox or in the 'Search this Blog' box on the right of the post.


I am very happy to report that I am now a Dr. 
My PhD was conferred by Curtin University, Western Australia on the 1st December. 

You can access my PhD thesis: 
Drones, Signals, and the techno-Colonisation of Landscape
at Curtin's espace 


Thursday, December 28, 2023


Force Multiplication? Gouache on paper 56 x 75 cm 2023

Ghost Bat Drones
Three MQ28-Ghost Bat drones form an horizon arc across the painting. I've painted them differently to indicate that as a team accompanying fighter jets, they have multi-modal capabilities. They all have  autonomous functions. The Ghost Bat drone is a collaboratively developed drone between Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is the first military aircraft developed in Australia in more than 50 years.

The three drones occupy the sky-scape, like stealthy super-heroes - maybe.

Integrated Force
This is an ambiguous painting - deliberately so. What are the dark drone-fragment-like shapes? Do they indicate proliferation of techno-power? Is this an image of integrated force? Or, do the fragments indicate disintegration? The recent Australian National Defence Strategic Review (DSR) (2023) calls for an integrated force, rather than a joint-force. This term, like joint force, refers to national capabilities, but also integration with allied capabilities, for example, via partnerships such as AUKUS. Integration is enabled by signalic  connectivity and interconnectivity. These then enable interoperability of systems and devices. Interoperability is a foundational capability for integrated force structure.

Let's get back to the dark drone-fragment-like shapes. Imagine signals connecting them all. Now imagine a disconnection - a disruption to the enabling signals. At one instance the painting could be an exemplar of integrated force - and - at the next instance - an image of catastrophe. I am reminded here by security scholar and analyst Jaquelyn Schneider's idea of the capability/vulnerability paradox.

Is the sky falling?
What about the pale blue shapes that mimic the sky as well as the drone-fragments? Note there are no dark drone fragments above the Ghost Bat arc. However, there are some blue fragments below the drones. Is the sky falling? Or, are these pale blue 'fragments' indicators of space-based assets? If they are, can we read them as friendly or not? In the DSR, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat is described as a "sovereign autonomous air vehicle designed as part of an integrated system of crewed and uncrewed aircraft and space-based capabilities." (DSR 2023, 61). 

If the pale blue fragments are indicators of space-based assets, then the painting reveals a war zone from Earth to orbiting satellites, a techno-colonised landscape. Integration across the five domains - land - sea - air - cyber - space - is clearly a complex aspiration. 

What could go wrong?

Clearly a lot more to say!!! For example, I've got more to say about skies, fake skies, fantasy and fake fantasies....deception.


I am very happy to report that I am now a Dr. 
My PhD was conferred by Curtin University, Western Australia on the 1st December. 

You can access my PhD thesis: 
Drones, Signals, and the techno-Colonisation of Landscape
at Curtin's espace 


Dr. 😊 Kathryn

Saturday, November 25, 2023


 Ghost Sky Oil on linen 56 x 112 cm 2023

This new painting continues my thoughts about airborne drones generally, and the MQ28 Ghost Bat drone specifically. The latter is Australia's first military aircraft in 50 years, a joint development between the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Boeing. 

Ghost Sky is related to a number of my paintings that depict Ghost Bat drones or indications of their presence. A recent painting is Ghost Shadows (2023). Ghost Shadows is similar to Ghost Sky, conveying a visual effect of dispersal or proliferation of  militarised aircraft - maybe even weapons. While I called this effect a "fragmented force", contemporary signalic connectivity ensures interconnectivity and interoperability, thus belying traditional notions of fragmentation. Maybe a better word is spawning

With Ghost Sky I wanted to create a sense of a fake sky, generated by the presence of air and space-based systems and devices. The idea to use the drone as a visual metaphor for a fake sky expands upon ideas expressed in a few earlier paintings, for example, Anomaly Detection  (2017) and Anomaly Detection 2 (2017) (below). In both of these earlier works I have used painted 'pixels' to form the drones' fuselages and wings (I refuse to say 'bodies'!). In this latest painting, Ghost Sky, it appears as if the pixels have morphed and erupted beyond their drone boundaries. Is this a kind of auto-generation, similar to generative AI capabilities? I do not know - it's a rhetorical, but interesting question. 

I think Ghost Sky appears less ominous than Ghost Shadows, but don't let appearances deceive you!

And, as always, lots more to say - but I will leave you to think about Ghost Sky for now.

                                     Anomaly Detection (Number 2) Oil on linen 120 x 180 cm 2017


Sunday, September 24, 2023


Suspended Landscape Oil on linen 67 x 61 cm 2023

In an age of persistent surveillance, heightened security needs, calls for civil and military preparedness for disaster and war [of various kinds], fears of fakery, and increasing numbers of displaced people, what does mapping of landscape and environment mean? Our world is not only traversed by human beings and animals; it is also scoped by arrays of land, sky, space and sub/marine based sensors. These sensors, attached to various devices and systems, register, detect and transmit data using electromagnetic frequencies. Movement of data, therefore, occurs in realms of space and time that are beyond human and animal experiential dimensions of mobility. 

Data is presented visually for human beings in graphics that overlay video or still images. Here, I am thinking about - for example - geolocating and terrain visualisation graphics, graphic recognition-squares that seemingly hover over the faces/heads of people, infrared markers monitoring human movement, guiding lines based on data transmitted from reversing cameras, on-board GPS screen-based directions, and crosshairs marking a remote operator's target.

Suspended Landscape plays with the appearance of computer-graphics. The continent of Australia is divided into squares, each one presumably containing information. If this painting was a screen, you could zoom in and out of each squared 'peep-hole'. Other dots and crosses mimic digital markers. Their purpose is ambiguous, maybe top secret? For me, I wanted to play with the idea of suspension - waiting, wondering, but also the idea that landscape is now suspended from 'hooks' of data. 

Each one of us, carrying a mobile phone, becomes one of these hooks. As we amble to work, play with our children in a park, fly in a plane, or speed off in a boat, our mobile devices can transmit and receive data, updates, and instructions at near light-speed. Unless signals are disrupted, or the power goes out and recharging your mobile phone is impossible, we are appendages or nodes in a ubiquitous data mapping system. 

While Suspended Landscape depicts the continent of Australia, the off-shore landscape is ambiguous. Maybe the splashes of red are close-up images of the Australian coastline. If so the digital system has dispersed the landscape across a screen. What for? Is it to closely analyse environmental impacts of climate change, or maybe it is a glimpse of a war gaming exercise. Maybe the dotted areas radiating outside Australia are pathways for future in-flow or out-flow exodus, maybe they are possible routes for incoming insurgents or combatants? 

Here, the idea of preparedness for future possibilities engenders suspense - as if dangling - waiting for something to happen. Yet, the painting also suggests a visual suspension of landscape, the continent laid out across a cosmic landscape. Perspective can shift from a possible aerial view to one where the viewer confronts the scene, like a spider web suspended across a gate-way. 

Shifting perspective - for me - is both literal and metaphoric. Please have fun imagining Suspended Landscape's many other possible interpretations!


Friday, September 08, 2023


Our Dog Delirium: Crash Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2023

These three new small works on paper channel some of my thoughts about robotic quadrupeds. However, while this is a specific focus, the robotic quadruped is also a visual metaphor to stimulate thinking about other robotic systems and devices.  

I depict the robotic quadrupeds because I've seen them in action at the Australian Army's Landforces expo in Brisbane in 2021 and 2022. While interested in seeing the robots, I was more interested in watching how people reacted to them. So many people responded as if these robots were real dogs. There were smiles, laughs, wriggles to respond to robotic 'wriggling', and lots of selfie photos with the robots. People bent down to look into the robotic 'face', smiling as they did so. The robotic quadrupeds, clearly controlled by remote operators in the expo hall, 'pawed' the ground [actually more like cats!], tilted their head as if inquisitive, wagged their behinds as if they were happy. I am sure there were other neutral or more circumspect responses to the robots, but these were not as obvious.  


I ask - in an era where so much technology is dual-use, how can we form resilient critical perspectives about human - machine interactions when normalising processes cross civilian and military arenas? I ask - how do we not fall into traps where we uncritically think we are in a relationship with a robot? I ask - if a robotic quadruped at a military expo elicits warm and fuzzy human reactions, how does this parlay into integrating human-robot partnering in the armed services? I ask - if a robot is present, for example, at an expo or an art exhibition, what happens to data it may collect via various sensors? What kind of training is provided for robotic developers by seemingly benign interactions with robots brought into places such as expos and galleries? 


Our Dog Delirium: Crash [above] and Verification Error: Identity Crash Site [below] visually 'speak' to a confusion - our confusion between alive and synthetic - what is a dog in the twenty-first century? If we collapse dog and robot into one, or human being and robot into a singularity fantasy, what do we give up in the process? 

Verification Error: Identity Crash Site Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2023

In Our Dog Delirium: Crash I have painted an Australian Kelpie with a robotic quadruped similar to an experiment where a Ghost Robotics quadruped was armed, . In Verification Error: Identity Crash Site [the verification tick on the robot indicates that it is the real dog. In both paintings the shadows cast by both the dog and the robot seem to collide - crash. is the red seeping from the crash site real blood?

Shadow Litter [bottom] is a futuristic image of a figure - is it a human being or a robot - walking a 'litter' of robotic quadrupeds.

I have another post DOGS, QUADRUPEDS AND ROBOTS with more dog - robotic quadruped paintings.  

Needless to say, there is a lot more to say!

Cheers, Kathryn 

If you would like me to present a talk, a seminar or an atelier [workshop] on questions relating to technology, war, dual-use, the future, and more please contact me via the contact form on the right. 

Shadow Litter Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2023