Data Data Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016
This painting was inspired by an article written by media theorist Mark Andrejevic and law academic Mark Burden. The article "Defining The Sensor Society " appeared in Television and New Media (2014). Apart from being a fascinating article that examines the increased use of sensor devices and privacy considerations resulting from always-on surveillance, monitoring etc, there are a few phrases and sentences that have stimulated images in my head.
Data Data is one of these images. And, the sentence that struck a visual chord, resulting in this painting, is "For drones, the signal-saturated sky is a sea of electromagnetically stored data that can be swooped up, processed, refined, and perhaps put to use." [p.5] What a sentence!
So, with Data Data I have played with the idea of "swooped up" data capture by a drone. I have painted wave-like electromagnetic transmissions which seem to flow into some kind of storage system. The transmissions can also flow out from here, if needed. As the words "perhaps put to use" indicate, the data may not be useful, but it's collected anyway. Why? Because in the future it might be useful! Patterns of behaviour, for example, may not flag attention until other data signals some kind of correlation.
However, "put to use" has serious implications when it is a drone that may be the instrument that wields actions as a result of data that is identified as useful.
The painting below Sky of Eyes takes the idea of surveillance and monitoring into an imagined place where the sky is now inhabited - by eyes. The drone is considered as an always-on unblinking eye. This has nothing to do with a human's vision capabilities. And, here I take the word 'vision' to mean not only sight of eyeball and pupil, but also imaginary vision. For me a drone's capacities are not about 'vision' but more about scoping. This links with a drone's other significant task - to target!
Both paintings continue my quest to re-consider ideas of landscape, to untether it from earth-bound horizons in order to reveal un-traversed perspectives that may provide insights into the future and humanity's place in it - perhaps....
Sky of Eyes Gouache on paper 19 x 26.5 cm 2016