Sunday, January 17, 2016


Simulated Landscape Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016

Regular readers will know that I have been using binary code in some of my recent paintings. Here's another one. 

Binary code 'instructing' Australia is repeated across the outline of the Australian continent. Yet, the 'instructions' are never completed because I could not fit the code for 'Australia' into Australia...maybe the ocean covers them up? But, I quite liked that this happened. I liked that it happened because it poses questions about simulation and simulated experiences, virtual worlds and computer modeling. 

If you were to simulate Australia, what data would you include? When I mean simulate, I mean as another world where art, music, literature, politics, religion, history, people with all their foibles, create environment, culture, modes of being and more. So, a simulation that is not simply as a land mass on a habitable planet.

If you are Australian there is likely to be a reasonable amount of data overlap with other Australians. However, if you have never visited Australia your data would be quite different. A younger person might provide different data to an older person. An Australian who has only lived in the city would provide data that is quite different to someone who has always lived in the country. An Indigenous person, for many reasons, would provide data that's different to a non-Indigenous person. A migrant would also have different information to an Indigenous or a non-Indigenous person. But, Big Data means that everyone's data would be accessible and therefore could be used to simulate Australia...scientists, archaeologists, geologists, farmers, lawyers, historians, memoirs from people long dead, children, images from satellites in space, phone records, social media use and updates, art, animals too... and the list is endless. But, would it be enough? The answer is...It could never be enough!

Virtual worlds may entice, for a variety of reasons, but when you think about it, the real world is vastly more nuanced, complex ...even beautiful and imperfect.

So, my painting Simulated Landscape could be exactly that...a simulated landscape. After all, any painting of a landscape is a kind of simulation! It could also be a cosmic landscape, where Australia has become untethered from Earth and is floating as some kind of entity in space. Why? Well, who knows?! Maybe it's the source-code landscape lying somewhere, even beyond space. Wherever this 'landscape' is, there are reverberations like signals that emanate from the Australia-shaped entity.

Maybe these signals are hints that echo the melodies of music and song across millennia, the rhythms of human and non-human hearts , the inflection of endless breath, the pulses of wonder and imagination...never to be captured in mere simulation?


Keep an eye out for my Australia Day Online Exhibition which I will launch here on this BLOG on the 24 th January, two days before Australia Day. 

I am doing this for a couple of reasons, one being that I realised, when I was recently going through my image data-base, that I actually have quite a few paintings depicting Australia. And, these depictions are not landscapes of scenes [I have heaps of them] but paintings where I depict the continent of Australia.  

I also do love Australia and consider myself lucky to be Australian, so it is an exhibition of homage too. 


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