Saturday, December 12, 2015


 Two Humans Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


On February 4th 2016, in Adelaide, South Australia, I am part of a panel discussing 'Space and Popular Culture'.

This public event is being hosted by the International Space University and the University of South Australia’s ‘Southern Hemisphere Space Program’. It will be at 6 pm, at the BH2-09 Lecture Theatre, City West Campus, Adelaide. Click HERE to visit the public events page and register.


I am having fun with my code paintings. Regular readers will know that a few of my recent posts have explored code and text in my work.

I was reading The Tranhumanist FAQ  by Prof Nick Bostrom, founding director of the the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford,  a couple of days ago. I was particularly interested in the section on Posthumanism ie: What is a Posthuman? This sentence grabbed my attention "Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or they could be enhanced uploads [see “What is uploading?”], or they could be the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound augmentations to a biological human."[1] When I read this pictures started popping into my head. I then went to What is uploading? and again pictures cascaded into my mind. [2] You do have to read What is uploading? because it is totally weird, interesting, mind boggling as well as scary. I first encountered the idea of uploading minds onto sophisticated computer systems a couple of years ago, when I heard the American futurist and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku speak. He postulated that an uploaded mind could travel through space and time on light beams...I suppose some kind of laser. Yep, when he said that guess what I saw in my head...congested space with uploaded minds tripping around on vacation-like jaunts.

In What is Uploading?  [page 17-18] various ways of mapping, scanning the brain and its components to enable uploading are discussed. Then there are questions about whether person-hood would be destroyed, whether the biological brain would be destroyed by a uploading process, whether a body is actually needed and much more...including the possibility of back-up copies! This next statement got me thinking "Tricky cases arise, however, if we imagine that several similar copies are made of your uploaded mind." [3] my paintings. 

In Two Humans I've painted/instructed in the word Human in binary code, twice. I've used multiple colours to give my humans some kind of nuance, personality, individuality. Both of my humans seem to hover in space, but then again the background may be the inside of a computer or a generated simulated environment, which would require even more code. But, it could also be space too.

This painting could be one of my cosmic landscapes...maybe a posthuman landscape...a post Earth landscape. This sentence from What is uploading? really got me thinking Back-up copies of uploads could be created regularly so that you could be rebooted if something bad happened. (Thus your lifespan would potentially be as long as the universe’s.) [4] Why did it get me thinking [well apart from the obvious weirdness of it]? Because, if we could have a 'lifespan' as long as the universe's then Earth will have reached its demise in the death throes of our sun long before the universe reached its own ending. Thus, I imagine uploaded minds tripping around space, exploring its expanding parameters, long after our Earthly anchoring landscape no longer existed...except in the 'memories' of the uploaded minds [of course!]. I wonder if they'd 'feel' nostalgic, or a sense loss, anger, frustration...? Whatever, they might 'feel' I imagine them forming a kind of scape within the fabric of the universe!

But, my two humans are not necessarily two separate humans...for indeed one could be a backup! I know, I know... the colour sequence does not match/mirror, but maybe this is deliberate? Maybe its more like an upgrade potential?

My painting Two Humans: Uploaded [below] again has the instructing binary code. But, there is no atmospheric background, except for the smudging drifts created by water dragged through the paint. Does this mean some kind of corrosion or instability? Ye gads, imagine 'being' an uploaded mind that existed in a corroded or unstable manner with no backup or compromised ability to access backups, where 'consciousness' was still 'sensed' but nothing made sense. Would it mean an eternity of madness? Would there be safety switches, abort or self destruct mechanisms?

Ultimately endings cannot be avoided....................................................

But, I am having a contrary king of fun painting code.

Two Humans: Uploaded Gouache on paper 24 x 32 cm 2015

1. Bostrom, Nick. The Transhumanist FAQ  : 5.
2. Ibid. 17 - 18.
3. Ibid. 18.
4. Ibid. 18. 

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