Tuesday, March 24, 2015


In Sight Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm 2015
In Sight
 Capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something
Regular readers know of my keen interest in perspective. Now...that word perspective has a plethora of possibilities associated with it. It literally means observations of or with sight, of pupil and eye-ball kind. But, it can also carry metaphoric associations of insight, of mind's eye kind.
I recently read a fantastic Huffington Post article Terminator Robots and AI Risk by Meia Chita-Tegmark, who is a PhD candidate at Boston University and a founder of the Future of Life Institute, which I have mentioned in previous posts. Using arguments that humans embody their fears in order to somehow render them less fearful, she foreshadows even more fearful outcomes if we persist in embodying fear of artificial intelligence in the form of robots, killer robots etc. She explains that artificial intelligence is not moving bits and pieces, but the unseen aspects of code, information, data Chita-Tegmark writes My fear is instead that, like with any representation that reveals some things and hides others, what the terminator robot reveals is simply something about our mind and its biases, while hiding the real dangers that we are facing. Further on in the article she says, But what is the price we pay for the sensation of fear that we need to nurture through embodied representations? I believe the price is blindness to the real danger.

Chita-Tegmark's article is a perfect example of insight founded in deep understanding and intelligent reflection. I would also say it is an example of someone with clear sight of where blindness may occur. With her knowledge and experience she has shifted perspective and provided humanity with an important warning, an invitation to also shift perspective. But, will we?

I suggest to change perspectives we need disruptive insights into human nature, such as those expressed by Chita-Tegmark. Makes me think of a word that sounds the same as insight...incite.
Please read her article and visit the Future of Life Institute website.

In Sight Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm
This painting plays with lots of my favourite things...perspective, ambiguity, landscape, cosmic clues. The only element missing is my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life! Wait till you see the painting I am currently working on though!

The landscape in In Sight is familiar, yet the colourful round balls cast a sense of the unfamiliar. They provide a cosmic clue that this landscape may not be Earth...but then again it might be? By questioning the landscape's locale it immediately untethers it from Earth-bound horizons, forcing a shift in perspective.

As I have written previously, I believe that in the 21st century cosmological age we need to re-think what 'landscape' is, what it means to us and how we represent it. If we can take 'landscape' into our universal/multiversal environment, the possibility of revealing new perspective of us, our planet and the universe/multiverse are possible. In shifting our perspective of landscape, we shift ourselves...well...we are part of the landscape, operating in its domain in a variety of ways! Imagine if we do not develop our sight and insight beyond Earth's familiar terrain...maybe it could become the domain of what Chita-Tegmark describes as menacing arrangements of zeros and ones. We could be left behind!

We may have already been...left...behind...?

In the painting, direct attention is drawn to the two balls with gun-like sights targeting them. Being caught in cross-hairs, literally and figuratively, is not a pleasant feeling. Yet, these sights need not be malevolent. They could be representative of telescopes trained on potential new planetary homes...but for whom? They could be camera lenses seeking out definition, a record of hope? And, yes they could also be malevolent!

Let's shift perspective...

I deliberately placed the two gun-like sights as if they were 'eyes' looking back at the viewer/s. But, are they human 'eyes' or maybe they are symbolic of Chita-Tegmark's menacing arrangements of zeros and ones, or maybe they are indicators of extra terrestrial intelligence...aliens! The sense of being 'watched' and recorded is pervasive in the 21st century. Think of the debates about our online behaviour, the data it generates and how and why it might be retained...and by whom or what?

In Sight Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm 2015 DETAIL

Yet, have I fallen into the trap Chita-Tegmark warns us about? Is my claim that the gun-like scopes are like 'eyes' just another embodiment of fear? Well, it might be...but I suggest that deliberate ambiguity, the plethora of things these 'eyes' could be and the play with shifting perspectives means I have not been caught in the trap. I'd like to think my 'play' may even expose possible cures for blindness. Maybe that's one of the most exciting things art can do? Maybe art has a capacity to incite change in unexpected ways?

Some related posts:
In Between Things: Interstellar Even
The Horizon Has Disappeared
Shared Landscape...In The Multiverse
The Value Of Landscape

For those of you who have not seen the news about one of my paintings being chosen for the front cover of The Independent [UK] newspaper's International Women's Day feature please check out my post Round Objects and UK News

My next exhibition will be 21 July - 2 August in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
I am playing with a few titles for the show...one is:


It suggests that artificial intelligence is in a list.
For me it's...
a list of

On that 'Cheery' note!



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