Saturday, October 21, 2017


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

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.   

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!


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