Sunday, June 10, 2018


 New Star - False Star \ Oil on linen 97 x 112 cm 2018

This online 'exhibition' gathers together paintings that evoke the image of the star, suggesting that contemporary surveillance technology and its invisible signals create false stars. Yes, we may not see them, but that makes their influence far more insidious. 

Many of the paintings situate a weaponised airborne drone at the centre of a 'star'. However, this is not the case in all of them, thus the paintings draw upon signals transmitted and received by other nodes, such as satellites - and even - mobile phones. 

* Please click on the paintings' titles to link to my previous posts about them.*

I have previously written about my interest in making visible the invisible networking of signals that operatively enable digital and cyber surveillance, targeting and attack. I suggest that these signals create new kinds of topographies that occupy landscape. As you will see from this 'exhibition' I interpret landscape as a domain that now extends from Earth into space, where space assets such as communication and GPS satellites, are positioned. That many of these assets are dual-use complicates the role played by contemporary technology in the potential militarisation or 'militarisability' of everyday life. 

When landscape is extended into space the figure of the star becomes a landscape element. Traditionally stars in night skies a brought into a relationship with earthly landscapes. A point of departure here is astronomical art, perhaps paving a way for more open ended notions of landscape. 

I am also interested in how new stars/false stars impact on our relationship with stars as celestial guides, real and symbolic. For example: guiding stars in biblical stories, reference points for early seafearing navigators, and journeying points for souls of the deceased. Do new stars/false stars hijack the role of guidance, navigation, and soul life in ways that steer us towards a militarised future? Do they erode symbolic meaning? There are a plethora of other possible questions here...

New Star - False Star [above] is a new painting. A weaponised drone is situated at the centre of a landscape. But, are you looking down upon the drone and an earthly landscape beneath it, or are looking up into a netted skyscape? This play with perspective is a deliberate tactic on my part. I invite you to fly around the drone, turning human surveillance back upon it. This is demonstrated in all the paintings in this 'exhibition'.

             New Star - False Star  Oil on linen 97 x 112 cm 2018 DETAIL

In New Star - False Star  the drone is painted with small squares [detail shot above], mimicking pixels, to indicate its link to digital and cyber technology and virtual representation. One could describe the painting as beautiful and this is important. Why? Because by creating an aesthetic appeal I try to draw attention to the stealthy and covert aspects of  contemporary militarised technology. I ask, have we noticed? I ask, what kind of subterfuge are we missing? I ask, what do we lose if invisible networks allow an ever-readiness for war? What kind of reality do we desire?

 Sensored Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2017

The 'stars' in this exhibition [except in False Stars] seem to extend their rays/signals beyond the edges of the paintings. This is again a deliberate ploy on my part. I try to indicate that the netting of landscape, and therefore, experience, by signals continues beyond the borders of the image. Once this is imagined, do you become more alert?  

The paintings in this 'exhibition' can be called cosmic landscapes, dronescapes, starscapes, signalscape....

 Drone Star Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016

                                        Sky - Drone - Net Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016

 False Stars Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

Swarm Surveillance Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2017 

The possibility of a swarm of drones presenting a kind of false galaxy or universe of stars is troubling!

 DATA DATA gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016

 Strategic Landscape Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016

 Code Empire Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

 Space Net Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

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