Disappearance Gouache on paper 37.6 x 28 cm 1995
This is a post about landscape...so just wade through the car bits at the beginning...there is a context...I promise.
I have been 'window shopping' for a new car. Regular readers will know that this is something I do from time to time. For years, in fact...and as yet no new car!
In an earlier post about cars 'Looking Out The Windows' I wrote about the propensity for sloped backs, as a design feature, in new SUVs and station wagons. Damn annoying when you want to pack an exhibition of paintings.
My latest window shopping exercise has frustrated me for a different reason. This time it's the diminishing size of rear and rear-side windows. Various bulk heads and side panels seem to have taken up more space than in the past. The result is reduced vision...of eye ball and pupil kind.
All is not lost...apparently. When I mention my concern to car salespeople I'm told cameras, parking sensors and more, not only compensate for smaller sized windows, but provide the driver with much more 'visibility'.
Then, when I ask, 'But, what if systems fail?' the response is close to incredulity...how could I even think that this might happen? To confound the issue more, and to the embarrassment of my car-loving daughter who window shops with me, I ask, 'But, what if systems do fail and humanity has lost the ability to look out the windows and therefore has lost all the accompanying dexterities of spatial distance, understanding of speed, ratios of all kinds and general environment awareness?' In response to this, I am normally given a what-are-you-talking-about-mad-lady stare by the salesperson... and a death stare from my daughter.
But, seriously...if we don't think to look out the windows [literally and metaphorically]...I'd suggest there's a plethora of things that would be lost. One of these is landscape. Yep, landscape, the very thing we drive in, on, about, into, over and under! As technology increases its infiltration into our everyday lives, to the point that we rely on it to remember for us, orientate us, entertain us, drive us and more, an insidious disappearance of environment occurs...because we are no longer conscious, or as conscious, of it.
Hidden Secrets Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2005
The disappearance of landscape is an interesting notion. But, possibly more so if one can sit outside the 'disappearance' as an observer. And, I'd suggest that the Universal perspectives revealed by contemporary cosmological research provide us with the opportunity to observe from a multitude of viewpoints.
I have previously written about my ideas of untethering notions of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. Maybe we need to do this to save landscape...like a kind of 'cloud storage'...so it can be retrieved in the future? If contemporary scifi and dystopian cinema is anything to go by, the future of Earth's landscape is far from promising. Think of the recent film 'Elysium'. In contemporary writing think of Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'.
Yet, there is always hope! In 'Elysium' hope is represented by the distant perspective photograph of the Earth shown to our young hero. In 'The Road' it's represented by the beauty of the prose.
To read my earlier post about 'Elysium' please click HERE and to read about 'The Road' please click HERE
Hope Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
* I have written about landscape many times since I started my BLOG in August 2006.