Sunday, October 29, 2017

LAUNCHING THE NEW HORIZON

Launching The New Horizon Oil on canvas 60 x 92 cm 2017


NEWS

ART PRIZE

Delighted to report that my painting Drone Spiral [below] won the Drone Art Prize at the inaugural World of Drones Congress held in Brisbane, August/September this year. The press release announcing the prize can be viewed HERE or by clicking "Press Release" on the World of drones website.

Dr. Catherine Ball, scientist, and drone entrepreneur commented

“Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox’s work provided a visual interpretation of the juxtaposition between the drone technology we see most in mainstream media, and its inherently complicated relationship with human beings."



Drone Spiral Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [unframed] 2016


STUDIO UPDATE

Also, my latest e-Studio Update with a recap of 2017 is available HERE



Launching The New Horizon

Launching The New Horizon [at top of page] continues my interest in how contemporary technologies re-calibrating landscape and our responses to it. As regular readers know I am particularly interested in airborne militarised drones, surveillance and targeting signals associated with ubiquitous surveillance, and increasingly autonomous systems. 

In this painting a weaponised drone's wing-span creates a new horizon line. Long range, long dwell and long endurance capabilities of militarised drones enable a kind of loitering that could be described as an occupation of the sky. Weaponised drones don't simply travel through or across a sky like a fighter jet. That drone swarm technology has hastened over the last couple of years, poses another way for skies to be occupied or colonised - an infiltration of 'new clouds'. As instruments of surveillance, targeting and destruction militarised drones are embedded in the environment in ways that re-orient how we might look at and think about the sky. This is fearfully experienced by people who live in conflict zones situated under droned skies eg: Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia and others. 

In Launching The New Horizon the drone's surveillance net is visible. I've painted it to appear porous to indicate that it may have other meanings. For example could this net, be a span of light illuminating a landing strip? Or, as a visual metaphor, maybe it indicates a landing on our subconscious? Or, maybe the drone presages the arrival of an event horizon, one where humans and machines merge in a singularity, or one where we arrive on the precipice between life and extinction? The latter refers to the event horizon as the zone around a black hole from which there is no escape. The cosmic background of the painting is - very deliberate.

I'll let you continue to ponder. 

Cheers,
Kathryn
P.S. You might like to read Drone: Enduring Presence [Meta Landing]







Saturday, October 21, 2017

UBIQUITOUS SURVEILLANCE: AN INVISIBLE LANDSCAPE

Ubiquitous Surveillance: An Invisible Landscape Oil on linen 60 x 110 cm 2017


MAKING VISIBLE, THE INVISIBLE
Ideas visualised in Ubiquitous Surveillance: An Invisible Landscape are also evident in some of my other recent paintings. These ideas are formed around reflections upon the way pervasive and increasingly ubiquitous surveillance, monitoring and data collection, creates invisible layers across, around and through landscapes and skies. In doing so, I suggest that new landscapes, landscape forms and skies are created. However, they are invisible. I try to expose them by revealing the signals, signal and scopic trajectories, of contemporary surveillance technology. I try to convey the criss-cross nature of digital and cyber systems' inter-connectivity. In some of my paintings I reveal the connective reliance on satellites, creating spider web-like - but invisible - patterns that extend beyond Earth's atmosphere into space.

In Ubiquitous Surveillance: An Invisible Landscape I have suggested a new layer of the sky, yet it could be a new topology of the land as well. As with many of my paintings the viewer is not sure whether they are above the clouds looking down or below the clouds, looking up. The new landscape of signals and scopic trajectories suddenly becomes an amorphous entity capable of palpitating in multiple dimensions. Like a shadow, the viewer cannot escape it. No matter where you are the surveillance follows or perhaps catches you in its virtual web.   

DRONES?
Ubiquitous Surveillance: An Invisible Landscape could also indicate the presence of two airborne militarised drones, each emitting signals the send and receive data. The drones are not portrayed, but they could be loitering beyond the painting's edge, beyond the horizon. Perhaps the green signals are surveillance signals scooping up information, images, people's lives? Perhaps the red signals are seeking targets...?

Because I grew up on a grain farm, I am well aware of various kinds of fences. Weld mesh is a type of barrier fencing made from steel wire. It normally presents in sheets of squares or rectangles. It is very strong fencing. In Ubiquitous Surveillance: An Invisible Landscape the lines create a weld mesh-like appearance. Whilst invisible, the pervasive and increasingly ubiquitous nature of surveillance, monitoring and data collection creates a strength. Robustness in systems can be a good thing - but - if it acts as a way to contain, then perhaps it is not such a good thing!

Cheers,
Kathryn

Saturday, October 14, 2017

PERSISTENT SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

Persistent Situational Awareness Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2017


'Persistent situational awareness' is a term used by the military for devices that enable integrated, real-time spatial and temporal awareness of an environment. The environment can be multifaceted ie: from the cyber 'environment', to the physical battlefield and broader locales. The word 'persistent' indicates that the situational awareness persists- unabated. It is clearly associated with capabilities that ensure persistent surveillance. 

One of the important capabilities of militarised unmanned air vehicles [UAV], commonly called drones, is the technology that enables 'persistent situational awareness'. Technology includes sensor and data connectivity with various systems on the aircraft, and inter-connectivity with support infrastructure, including, but not limited to, ground control stations and satellites. The fact that drones are capable of long range, long endurance operations requires capabilities of persistent situational awareness. 

With my new painting Persistent Situational Awareness I have played with ideas of environment and surveillance. 

Maybe the green ball is a planet emitting signals that transmit and collect data that assists in the planet's 'persistent situational awareness', placing it in a position of tactical and attack readiness. In a sense a militarised planet - maybe Earth, maybe not...

Or, maybe my 'landscape' is actually a close-up image of an eye, with the green ball representing a pupil. The blue could be a section of the iris, and the red could be the lip of the lower eye-lid. The clouds could be pterygiums-like, ie; benign growths on the eye, semi-obscuring vision! Now, that's an interesting metaphor. Or the clouds could, in fact, be clouds reflected on the eye as it incessantly gazes, gathering and transmitting data and instructions. Reality, glimpsed in reflection....

If it is an eye, then it is obviously not a normal eye... 

I am also playing with the idea of the airborne drone being colloquially called an 'eye-in-the-sky'. The green-eye/pupil indicating the drone's night vision capabilities - perhaps the red, indicating its thermal imaging capabilities, or any number of other bloody things. The idea of the 'green-eyed monster' plays into my thoughts - a term coined by Shakespeare in Othello [Act 3: Scene 3] it apparently refers to a cat toying with its prey, before devouring it. Iago to Othello says:

Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. 

The idea that a green-eyed monster mocks death, feeding upon its victims, is a salient one to ponder as the weapons for contemporary battles become more asymmetrically, insidiously and persistently deployed and 'aware'. 

MICRO AND MACRO - 21st CENTURY LANDSCAPE
Persistent Situational Awareness intersects with my interest in creating images that can be interpreted as something vast, and at the next instance, as something small. An oscillating dance between the micro and the macro is a theme which runs through my work. 

At the end of the day, Persistent Situational Awareness is a landscape, but I propose it offers a renegotiated idea of what landscape might mean in the 21st century.

Cheers,
Kathryn




Sunday, October 08, 2017

TACTICS

Tactics oil on linen 70 x 100 cm 2017

I wrote another post called Tactics very recently. You can access it HERE  . 

Tactics, above, is the same painting I previously discussed. However, a few weeks ago I decided to add clouds. The white clouds give more clues to the drone's tactics of camouflage and subterfuge. They alert us to a 'droning' of the sky, where new layers are artificially created by pervasive technology, its apparatus and signals. Indeed, the white drone seemingly attempts to mimic a cloud! 

But, strategic tactics are not only evidenced in the actions and appearance of the drone!

The red cloud 'cries'. It cries tears of blood. But, like the 'tactics' of the tree-of-life as it sends roots and new shoots underground, the cloud's tears might also be a way to preserve life. By shedding tears of blood, LIFE can seep into the universal matrix, for resurrection at some other time or place.  


Detail Tactics 

Here is an extract from my previous post Tactics:

"The airborne weaponised drone is targeting the tree-of-life. The tree is isolated in a 'kill box', a virtual three dimensional graphic that delineates a zone around an identified target. Emanating rays above the tree-of-life indicate ongoing surveillance by another drone or maybe a control base of some kind. Whatever it is, the signals represent persistent surveillance by manned and unmanned entities. At the end of each white signal-ray, a small red box indicates potential further targeting.

BUT

The tree-of-life has sent its roots under the 'kill box'. A survival tactic subverting the digital reach! The tree's roots seek out places that a drone cannot penetrate - maybe literal subterranean places, but maybe spiritual realms? The tree succeeds in sending out new green shoots, to bring forth life. BUT, it may not represent human life - and - it may not be on this planet - or - even in the universe! This may sound loopy, but I am thinking of theories about multiverses, and I am also thinking about a future where humanity/life may have left planet Earth. Indeed, we humans are already planning settlements on Mars. But, Mars is still in our solar system. What about humanity/life in other solar systems, even galaxies? An extreme escape!"

Cheers,
Kathryn