Sunday, January 24, 2016

AUSTRALIA - ONLINE EXHIBITION

 Run Off Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


AUSTRALIA
ONLINE EXHIBITION

Relaunched
Australia Day 26 January 2017.

In 2016 I curated an online exhibition of my paintings where the continent of Australia is the 'landscape' or part of a more cosmic-like landscape. 

Between January 2016 and January 2017 I created a few more paintings that depict the Australian continent from various perspectives - melting, cut in half, targeted and more. So, I've added them to the online exhibition. The original exhibition displayed paintings in a chronology from the most recent to those from 2010. This is now updated!

POLITICAL - ENVIRONMENTAL - SOCIAL ISSUES
The images of the Australian continent can be 'read' many ways, but they each have a capacity to intersect with current political, environmental and social issues. 

For example:

Interregnum was painted in direct response to the Australian Federal election where a hung parliament seemed likely. 

Aeropolitics Imagined and What If? directly refer to Australia's position within broader global issues associated with accelerating developments in militarised technology and the blurring of civilian and military use of infrastructure and systems. The figure of the unmanned airborne drone features in this two paintings.

I'll leave it up to you now!

* Click on the hyperlinked titles or the images to be taken to the previous posts where I discuss each work.



 Australia Turned Upside Down Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


 Dissolving Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


 Interregnum Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


 Aeropolitics Imagined Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


What If? Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


Australian Landscape - Cutout Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm 2015
I include this 2015 in the updated exhibition because I had not included it in the original one.



ORIGINAL 2016 EXHIBITION 



[1] From The Other Side Gouache and Watercolour on Paper 30 x 42 cm 2016




AUSTRALIA

ONLINE EXHIBITION

 An exhibition of twelve paintings
completed between 2010

and 

Australia Day 26 January 2016


A few weeks ago I realised that over the years I have included the continent of Australia in many of my paintings. So, unlike my many landscape paintings which have been inspired by the Australian landscape, the paintings in this online exhibition all depict the Australian continent...as the landscape.



[2] Verso Watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016 



[3] Our Bright Future Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016
This painting was inspired by watching Kevin Slavin's fabulous TED talk
  How Algorithms Shape Our World. At one point he says "It's a bright future if you're an algorithm."



GENERAL STATEMENT 
I have curated the exhibition with the latest paintings first. As you scroll down you will see how the images have reflected my thoughts, concerns and inspirations over time. 

Cosmology*, space, existential risk posed by emerging technologies *, age-old symbols [especially the tree-of-life] and associated themes are inspirational triggers for my paintings. However, underlying all of these is a desire to explore and re-negotiate concepts of landscape. 

Taking a cosmological point of view, I am particularly interested in un-tethering landscape from Earth-bound horizons to create what I call 'cosmic landscapes'. By doing this I propose that new perspectives of Earth, our Universal environment and humanity's place within it are revealed. 

We describe other planets, moons etc in landscape terms, so 'landscape' as a descriptor has already escaped Earth's horizons. 


* Cosmology is the scientific study of the Universe across all temporal and spatial scales.
* Existential risk posed by emerging technologies is a relatively new multi-disciplinary research area with aims to identify risks, develop mitigation strategies and ultimately ensure that technological development is for the benefit of humanity. 


[4] Simulated Landscape Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016
Binary code 'instructs' Australia! Welcome to the post 21st century! 



AUSTRALIA - UNLEASHED

In my very recent Australia paintings I have unleashed Australia from Earth! The continent seems to float in Space? By reversing Australia, filling it with binary code and extracting it from the globe I've attempted to reveal new perspectives which, I propose, provoke questions about what it means to be an Australian in the 21st century. Indeed, what does it mean to be a human, even an earthling, in this cosmological and technological 21st century?  

Stephen Hawking, in the lead up to this year's Reith Lecture, which he is giving on the 26 January, has commented that this century is significant, because exponential technological development presents not only amazing benefits, but also potentially apocalyptic possibilities. If we are to avoid the latter we need to be very careful now ie: this century. Hawking echoes the concerns of cosmologist Lord Martin Rees who made similar provocative comments in his 2003 book Our Final Century.  I have previously written about Rees's marvelous book where he goes into various apocalyptic scenarios, that could result in the annihilation of humanity and more. Sobering stuff, but also motivational.

I propose that Rees's and Hawking's concerns make it clear that whether we are Australian or not, we share a planet called Earth with all other humans and living creatures. It is our only home for the foreseeable future, so let's look after it and get on with each other. 



EARLIER AUSTRALIA PAINTINGS 

My earlier Australia paintings, whilst landscapes, are also statements about the Australian environment and how we commoditise it. Hence, I have used small $ signs to paint water and in the case of Commoditised [No: 7] I have used small red $ signs to paint the entire continent. The tree-of-life, which I have used in a number of paintings in this online exhibition, creates land, sea and sky as it cascades across paintings. By juxtaposing $ signs with the tree-of-life questions about how we think about 'value' are asked.

I grew up on a grain farm on the Darling Downs, Queensland and then spent many of my adult years further west, living in Goondiwindi, which is on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. These earlier paintings reflect my observations, over many years, of water and associated issues.


 BUT

Whilst the paintings in this AUSTRALIA Online Exhibition have varying degrees of political agency they are not simply didactic. Why? Because, whether I have filled Australia with a tree-of-life, binary code, $ signs, turned it back to front, cut it out of the globe...I hope the paintings are open-ended enough to stir your wonder and imagine too.




[5] Privileged Landscape Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2015


PRIVILEGED LANDSCAPE
I have Privileged Landscape hanging in my dining area and I love it. I know I am the artist, but this one stops me in my tracks, even for an instant, every time I see it. Why? It's not only because of the arresting colour, it's because it makes me think...and laugh a bit. 

There is more than one landscape in Privileged Landscape. There's the whole painting...a cosmic landscape. And, there's the Australian continent floating in Space and then there's the cutout of Australia, with the Universe visible on the other side. The umbilical-like blue string conjures all sorts of thoughts about global relationships, historical connections, cosmological awareness and more... 



[6] Murray Darling Currency Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm  2012


MURRAY DARLING CURRENCY
A tree-of-life cascades across the painting creating Australia and the surrounding seas. The Murray Darling Basin is painted in small blue $ signs, to represent questions of value. I am also playing with the term 'currency' which can be applied to water and money, plus political cache. 

I grew up in rural Queensland and spent many of my adult years even further west. This painting and others like it, are inspired by decades living in the country and being acutely aware of water issues. 


[7] Lifeblood Oil on linen 70 x 140 cm 2011


LIFEBLOOD
In Lifeblood Australia is part of a world map created with the help of a tree-of-life. The red is symbolic of the fact that no matter what colour our skin is, or what religion we follow [or not], we all have red blood flowing through our veins. We all ultimately return to the Earth too. 



[8] Commoditised Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011



COMMODITISED
This painting is self explanatory. However, like my other $ paintings, the viewer is not initially aware of the small $ signs. From a distance they are not discernible, but they are when viewed up close. This is a deliberate tactic on my part...



[9] From Another Perspective Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2011


FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
As often happens when an artist reviews a body of their own work, I noticed a painting from 2011 that seems to herald my recent works. From Another Perspective depicts the Australian continent from both front and behind, or above or below, mirrored and not mirrored. The tree-of-life stands as a beacon of life. This painting was certainly the precursor of paintings done 3-5 years later. I can see that now...



[10] Underground Currency Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2010


UNDERGROUND CURRENCY
The area of the Great Artesian Basin, Australia's magnificent underground system of aquifers is painted in small blue $ signs. The word 'currency' in the title plays with ideas of water flow, money and political 'currency'. It also signifies that issues of water, and how we 'value' water, are current...contemporary topics



[11] Murray Darling Currency Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [52 x 63 Framed] 2010


MURRAY DARLING CURRENCY [Above]
GAB: GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN [Below]
The work on paper above inspired the larger painting with the same title [No. 5 Murray Darling Currency above]. It is part of a series of paintings themed on water issues. Not all of them had $ signs
However, the one below has small $ signs symbolising the 'currency' of the great Artesian Basin! This painting inspired the large oil painting above called Underground Currency [No.10].

These two paintings are framed and look great hanging together.


[12] GAB: Great Artesian Basin Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [ 52 x 63 cm Framed] 2010



 I hope you have enjoyed this small exhibition:

All these paintings are available for purchase.

If you are interested please contact me through my webpage



..........................................................................................



Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

SIMULATED LANDSCAPE

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. 

'INSTRUCTING' AUSTRALIA
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. 

WHAT DATA?
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.

SIMULATED LANDSCAPE
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?

AUSTRALIA DAY ONLINE EXHIBITION

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. 

Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MY LANDSCAPE AND SPAGETTIFICATION

 My Landscape Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


ME/YOU
Here's me, in the painting above, with my arms and legs stretched across a landscape, that could be read as an aerial view of the Australian outback...after some rain!

Or, it could be read as a cosmic view with me floating in an endless space....my arms and legs stretched to the edges of time and the universe.

Or, maybe I am in the process of spagettification as I enter the event horizon at the entrance of a black hole where gravity is so dense that time stops.

But maybe it's just a shadow of me where light is playing tricks with my body?

And, here's another possibility, it could be a posthuman me...my body simulated with some kind of code, so that 'I' feel like 'I' have a body...except the code may not have worked because 'I' am a stretched version of a human body, not really what the 'source code' ie: the real me looked like?

But, this figure does not have to be me. It could be you! It could be anyone or all of us. 


SPAGETTIFICATION VIDEO
Check out this video 'Are We Living Inside A Black Hole?' for more about spagettification. Yep! It's a real term used by astro-physicists for being stretched...






FLYING BRIDES
In the past I have painted many images of figures floating or flying above a landscape and even in space. Here's an example below, Living With Distance. A bride floats above the Earth, her veil sweeping across the atmosphere as if forming clouds. This painting plays with the word distance in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. I painted a number of flying brides a few years ago. You can see more HERE


Living With Distance Oil on linen 120 x 160 [diptych] 2001 - 2002


OUT NEAR THE MOON
And, the painting below is called When I Was A Child I Dreamt I could Fly. In this painting I am not merely flying above a known landscape, I am flying out near the Moon! Here's a link to a previous post called School Holidays where I write more about this painting. Yes, I actually did dream I could fly...and sometimes I was not asleep!

Actually, I've painted a few paintings where the Moon features...and with floating/flying human figures too. Here's a link to a post I wrote called Moon


When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2003


REFLECTING ON MY PRACTICE AND CHILDHOOD LANDSCAPE
I have found writing this post to be very useful. Actually concentrating on a theme like flying has helped me see how my current work links with my previous work. It's not so surprising that I have gravitated towards cosmic landscapes and an interest in how humanity will navigate the future in this universe. 

I also am very aware of the influence of landscape, especially the distance in the Australian landscape AND especially the distance of my childhood landscape...the flat treeless Pirrinuan Plain, between Dalby and Jimbour, Queensland, Australia. It really provided the space for many launches!



REMINDER 


ADELAIDE
THURSDAY FEB 4 at 6 PM

at the University of South Australia
in conjunction with the International Space University, Strasbourg, France. 

'Space and Popular Culture'

Panel discussion 
With me, under-water performance artist and Everest mountaineer Sarah-Jane Pell and comedian and Mars One candidate Josh Richards with facilitator, space archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman.
All the details and registration HERE




Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

POSTHUMAN MODES OF BEING?

Posthuman Modes Of Being? Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016 


Many Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


NEWS

ADELAIDE
THURSDAY FEB 4 at 6 PM

at the University of South Australia
in conjunction with the International Space University, Strasburg. 

'Space and Popular Culture'

Panel discussion 
With me, under-water performance artist and Everest mountaineer Sarah-Jane Pell and comedian and Mars One candidate Josh Richards with facilitator, space archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman.
All the details and registration HERE



POSTHUMANIST INSPIRATION
Regular readers will note that I am on a roll with my posthumanist inspiration! 

My more recent inspirations are stimulated by my M. Phil research degree at the University of Queensland. My paintings are not part of the degree, but I am building a body of work reflecting upon my research. Early days.......................................

Existential risk posed by emerging technologies research, which I've previously mentioned many times is scientifically based, future focused and necessarily largely speculative. Given that existential risk means the potential for human species extinction, posthuman scenarios are part of the extended 'conversation'. Here are few reasons why. 

1. We may need to become posthuman in order to 'survive' cataclysmic events which are either human-made or other. 
2. Some people desire a posthuman existence to enable a possibly endless 'life', thus these people will aim to development pathways. 
3. We may morph into posthuman modes of being without really noticing eg: merging with artificial intelligence. The question being whether artificial intelligence or humans have actually orchestrated such an outcome. 
4. Other reasons that you may think of!

So, posthuman futures could occur out of necessity, desire or insidiousness...even accident?

MODES AND THEORIES
Philosopher and founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, Nick Bostrom, writes copiously about various fascinating topics including existential risk, artificial intelligence and superintelligence, transhumanism and posthumanism...and more! In the 2003 Transhumanist FAQ: A General Introduction Bostrom provides three possible posthuman "modes of being":

1. "completely synthetic artificial intelligences"
2."enhanced uploads"
3. "the result of making many smaller but cumulatively porfound augmentations to a biological human"

But, Bostrom also has another tantalising theory, which I have referred to previously. His theory is that we already live in a posthuman future. Yes, all of existence is a simulation run by posthumans. You can read more about this HERE

Bostrom's number 2 posthuman " mode of being" is completely fascinating to me! That's not to say the others are not fascinating, but uploaded enhancements leads to uploaded minds, playing with reality and simulation, possibly outlasting Earth's demise as the Sun reaches its magnificent end...but, it could also explain how we may already 'exist' in a posthuman future! 

NEW PAINTINGS
Posthuman Modes Of Being? is similar to another recent painting A Posthuman Habitat. In both paintings a mesh of binary code seems to hover above a background that suggests a landscape, a past. The mesh is like an alternative 'habitat'. In both paintings I have painted binary code 'instructing' words I AM, I am, I am? and lots of question marks.Uploaded minds trying to work out who they are maybe? In both paintings the tree, my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, acts as a beacon, which I argue, is a 'code' in itself. 

TREE - CODE - MY PREFERRED POSTHUMAN FUTURE
How is my tree a code? Well, let's imagine another kind of posthuman future. This is my preferred one. The sun dies, Earth is destroyed in the sun's death throes, Earth is scattered as dust and debris across space. BUT, we humans, possibly long extinct due to Earth's final eons with an inhospitable climate, lie as remains within Earth's dust. SO, we are scattered across space too! We return to the stars as star dust. ALL OF US! And, who knows as universal machinations occur another life-form similar to or possibly the same as humans, could somehow evolve from our 'dust'. Thus, my tree is the code-clue to the power of life and star dust...

I called the second painting Many because this painting could be many things! One is that all those coloured dots could be human star dust scattered across space after Earth is destroyed. Or, each dot could be another universe...idea...option... 

I like the way the two paintings play off each other...in many ways.

Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com