Wednesday, February 28, 2018


 Details of Drones and Code: Future Now

 Drones and Code: Future Now Oil on linen 40 x 56 cm 2018

I have been preparing my presentation for the International Studies Association conference in San Francisco in April. I have been invited to speak about my own paintings on a panel called "War Art: Museums, Militarisation and Militantism". I have decided to speak about how I attempt to resist the creeping and insidious militarisation of imagination which, in turn, hijacks, infiltrates and colonises  both the present and the future.

I will be speaking about my use of cosmic perspectives, and my painterly invitations to fly around drones or indications of their presence. I will also talk about revealing invisible signals that connect nodes, such as satellites with airborne drones, with mobile phones, ground control stations, computers and more. I will discuss how I believe these signals create new layers of topography in the landscape, and how human movement and behaviour are altered to accommodate the persistent surveillance these topographies enable.

I will also speak about the medium of painting and its historical and operative distance from contemporary technology.Painting does not rely upon digital or cyber systems, software or algorithmic instruction for creation, exhibition and storage. This provides an independence from interconnected and potentially appropriated contemporary technological platforms. Rather than thinking of painting with a nostalgic turn, or with accusations of anachronism, I propose that painting by a human being, in humanly accessible dimensions of time and space, offers subversive agency in the digital and cyber age. That a painting can depict and critique contemporary technology, without actually needing it for creation, exhibition and storage, heightens this agency. This becomes more pointed when the visual critique focuses on contemporary militarised technologies, such as airborne drones, their persistent surveillance systems and increasingly autonomous capabilities.

I have uploaded detail shots of my painting Drones and Code: Future Now to give an idea of the painterly quality of the image. The background of the painting was created with random splashes of colourful paint. Over the top of this I painted drones and satellites. I did, however, wipe out the colourful paint to help create the dark continent of Australia. After painting this and the binary code 'instructing' LANDSCAPE around the coastline, I then added more colour to the background with deliberate placements of colourful dots. I wanted the Australian continent, at one instance to be seemingly set against a sea, and at another instance, set against the universe. This is an example of my love of the cosmic perspective - one that does provide the viewer with a freedom to fly - and to perhaps see things differently. I have uploaded a detail shot of my recent painting Drone Spiral 2 as another example of cosmic perspective, but also to focus on the paint.

Drone Spiral 2 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2018


No comments: