New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? Oil on linen 70 x 102 cm 2014
All the talk about possible Earth-like...even super-Earth-like...planets being discovered, 1000s of light years away, has sent my imagination into overdrive.
Firstly though, what makes a planet potentially Earth-like? It needs to be in the 'Goldilocks zone' of a star...a zone where it is not too hot nor too cold, thus predisposing it to potentially having water and therefore possibly sustaining life. This orbit area is actually called the habitable zone.
But what is intriguing me is the possibility that newly discovered Super-Earths, may provide not just plain ordinary habitability, but SUPER-habitability. That means they may be more habitable than our own Earth. We tend to think of our planet as being generously and generally habitable. We use, abuse, augment, love, traverse, sustain, mine, farm, destroy, ogle, paint, reserve/preserve, film our wonderful Earth. Until relatively recently we've not necessarily thought about the long term impacts of our more industrious uses of Earth's land, water and air....the things that make it habitable for us. Yet recent realisations, debates and weather events have made us feel somewhat vulnerable.
[You can check out the Super-habitability theory HERE Once you have read this just Google for more info.]
Ok...so it's a long-shot that there are super-habitable Super-Earths out there somewhere. The search for them is thoroughly tantalising though, for many reasons. The 'pastures greener on the other side' gives hope that when our Earth reaches its demise, either at our hands or with our Sun's death throes, there's somewhere better for us to go. I suggest, that even though it's a loooong shot, this makes us feel slightly less vulnerable. After all we do have faith in science and technology, and you just never know what capacities and capabilities they will provide us in the future...space travel and more.
And, my goodness, when we arrive at our new super-home other creatures may greet us! Space playmates maybe? The imagination certainly helps blur the borders between science fiction and science. Yet, a fertile imagination and a sense of wonder are necessary for both.
New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone?
And, my painting New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? is meant to be fun...but also thought provoking.
The landscape from which the tree-of-life grows is not lush and green. It's as if the last seed has found the final place for growth. Is this barren landscape our future Earth? Maybe...maybe not. The tree, however, reaches out searching for other life. Two planets are visible, one green and lush with ample water, the other perhaps a little colder and icier. The tree's branch searches for life amongst the cosmos, seeking habitable zones around distant stars. The viewer is unsure whether the tree misses the lush planet, or whether another tree, out of the picture, has also found a new 'home' or maybe a place to vacation! Imagine sharing our super-habitable Super-Earth!
And, here's another scenario. What if, in the far distant future, some Earthlings are sent to other planets, that turn out not to be all that habitable, but not totally hostile...like the sparse and spare landscape in the foreground of my painting. What if there are THE Chosen who remain on Earth, which has blossomed with the aid of 'Super Science' and massive forced de-population? Maybe the lush green planet is Earth, albeit an augmented one?
It does not really matter what the description of the painting is. The thing that really interests me is humanity's constant search for life. My much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life does it again! It symbolises life, in a meaningful way transcending time and transporting us to eternal possibilities.
New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? is another attempt to untether concepts of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. If not a complete untethering it certainly provides a few different perspectives, literal, metaphoric and symbolic.
Here are some other posts where I have written about a search for a new 'home'.
Seeking Home: An Online Exhibition of Selected Cosmic Paintings This is a short story.
Flick Of A Switch: Some Thoughts About Two Films This starts with a very short story. I then discuss the films Elysium and The Hunger Games [no 1] where there are populations of The Chosen and those that are not.
Stanthorpe Art Prize.
The award is announced on Friday night 28 February. My paintings Super Earths Discovered is a finalist. Shall keep you posted!
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com I have recently updated my website, so please check it out.