Sunday, June 08, 2014


Birth Of Landscape Oil on linen 138 x 168 cm 2014

Birth of Landscape continues my attempt to untether landscape from Earth-bound horizons. I am so serious about my quest that I am calling my next solo Untethering Landscape. I have made a separate page for the exhibition which you can view by clicking HERE
My idea for Birth Of Landscape [above] was to somehow capture a sense of landscape being born from the Big Bang. Yes! After all, without the Big Bang there would be no landscape...yet let's think about this...maybe there would be landscape...but without conscious and curious awareness by beings such as ourselves, would landscape 'exist'? There may be other curious and perceptive beings like ourselves 'out there', but whilst it's a tantalising thought, we have not met them yet! So, until such a time, let's explore landscape, let's rethink what it might be, let's expand our horizons beyond Earth into our Universal [and maybe Multiversal] environment.
Why? Scientific research is expanding our knowledge of the Universe, from the quantum to the vast, at an amazing pace. The 21st century is truly the cosmological age...cosmology being the scientific study of the Universe. The fascinating thing is that cosmology is a multidisciplinary field that crosses broad areas of science...and philosophy. Big questions about life, past, present and future are being asked. And...our relationship with our environment is an important part of the investigatory process.
On Thursday night I attended the most wonderful presentation by theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku. The packed audience loved it too. I went alone...and strangely did not run into anyone I know. Now, this is somewhat unusual in Brisbane, particularly when there is a massive attendance at an event, like there was on Thursday night. It was like....after dark the geeks come out to play! I absolutely loved it.
Dr. Kaku spoke about a range of issues and explorations from artificial intelligence, downloading/mapping our minds, travelling into space via our downloaded minds on lazar beams, abilities to be able to re-insert memories in dementia patients, issues to do with potential insertion of false memories and legal/ethical implications, time travel and so much more.
For me, the overarching question, dilemma, excitement is a need to think about what it means to be human in the 21st century. And...for me...untethering landscape form Earth-bound horizons will help us ponder what it does mean to be human, because by releasing our vision and horizons we see new perspectives, not only of our planet, but also of ourselves.
 Detail Birth of Landscape Oil on linen
I love being a generalist. I love it because it means you can pick up links between things, events, ideas.
Here we go!
Dr. Kaku suggested that the main threat to humanity's growth, and ascension from what he calls level 0 to level 1, will be tribalism, aggression and those elements that cause conflict and war. Interestingly, only days beforehand I had read an article in the Otago Daily Times by Prof Kevin Clements, Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, NZ. He is a wonderful and inspiring man. I know him...met him first when he worked at the University of Queensland. In his article Safety Possible Without Surveillance Prof Clements says, Our real security lies in the quality of the relationships we have with each other, rather than the security of our nation state. Whilst Prof Clements is writing about New Zealand's involvement in the 'Five Eyes' surveillance/security arrangement, the essence of his argument can be taken globally ie: the real threat to humanity [and the planet considering the range of bio/technological weapons available] is NOT getting on with each other!
Also, if you have time please watch this very recent panel discussion on the topic The Future Of Technology: Benefits and Risks . The event took place at MIT and was the launch of an exciting think tank Future of Life Institute . The panellists were Dr George Church (synthetic biology), Dr  Ting Wu (personal genetics), Dr  Andrew McAfee (second machine age, economic bounty and disparity), Dr Frank Wilczek (near-term AI and autonomous weapons) and Jaan Tallinn (long-term AI and singularity scenarios). One of the many things I took away from listening to the panel was that it's important that we get on with each other!
And, for another related perspective on the issue of what it is to be human in the 21st century, you might like to read An Economist's Guide To War And Peace by Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace . Steve Killelea is an Australian, who sold his IT company before he launched into a life as a full-time advocate for peace. I have heard him speak, and his passion and energy are evident.

So, to the painting above! The background is fire and brimstone...the Big Bang. Superimposed onto this background is a 'landscape' in formation. As you can see the circular object is not complete...the background is evident between the forming 'landscape' elements. This circle could be planet, it could even be Earth, but it could also be symbolic of  smaller or even larger universal entities. The small tree, cradled within the forming 'landscape', it is my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life visualised for the 21st century ie: it has gone cosmic!
*****NEXT EHIBITION - Brisbane - September

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