Friday, December 28, 2018


It's Everything Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 

Historian, Yuval Noah Harari has written an article, "Moving Beyond Nationalism: Three global problems create a need for loyalty to humankind and to planet Earth"published by The Economist. The three global problems Harari identifies are "nuclear war, climate change and technological disruption." That these three issues require global attention and co-operation is clear. Each pose major risks, even existential risks, to humanity and the planet. Combined, they pose a hellish picture of the future. 

As Harari notes, a retreat into nationalism does not protect nations from risks posed by nuclear war, climate change and technological disruption. He writes "We need to create a global identity and encourage people to be loyal to humankind and to planet Earth in addition to their particular nation."

I like the idea of being "loyal to humankind and to planet Earth." Regular readers of this blog will know that this kind of sentiment underlies much of my work. My use of the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, depictions of Earth as a pale blue dot, and my use of cosmic perspectives, coupled with visual signs and metaphors of contemporary risks, are attempts to focus attention on humanity and the Earth. Visual questions about militarised technology and the militarise-ability of technology, pose questions about the future of humanity and the planet.

The medium of painting moves thinking away from what artist and writer James Bridle in his fascinating book [do buy it!] The New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future calls "computational thinking" eg: data driven computation, computer simulation/modelling. The act of painting and the medium of painting can help remind us of alternative ways of thinking. Ways that may assist us in creating a loyalty to humankind and Earth. Ways that can critique contemporary technology - without using it for creation, exhibition and storage.*     

So, for the arrival of 2019 just a few days away, I have decided to upload a selection of my paintings where, variously, the tree-of-life, the pale blue dot, cosmic perspectives and images of airborne weaponised drones may induce thoughts about loyalty to humankind and Earth. 

 Future Oil on linen 91 x 102 2015

 Australian Landscape Cutout Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm 2015
This painting is a reflection upon how nationalism might work, or not work, in the 21st century. It reminds us that all nations share the one planet.

 Beacon Oil on linen 92 x 102 2014

The Birth of Landscape oil on linen 138 x 168 cm 2014
A small tree-of-life is cradled by the emergent landscape, at Earth's beginning. Ultimately life, including humankind and the planet are entangled.  

 Pale Blue Dot Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2014

Reading/viewing the painting above with the two below triggers a few questions about what kinds of risky anomalies are we not noticing. I propose human imagination can take us to revelatory perspectives.

 Anomaly Detection [No 2] Oil on linen 120 x 180 cm 2017

Anomaly Detection Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

Happy New Year,

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