Sunday, March 24, 2019


Beware, Whispers The Wind oil on linen 61 x 97 cm 

Beware, Whispers The Wind 
An armed Reaper drone creates a false horizon across a landscape. The drone's wings slice through the air. Its wide area surveillance system hangs like a bulbous probe below the aircraft's chassis. Four Hellfire missiles and two guided missiles are poised ready for release. 

Orienting graphics impose a virtual map under the drone. This map penetrates the landscape, its virtual presence indicating that it can operate anywhere, everywhere. From screen to screen, its data driven operation isolates kill zones as the drone's sensors harvest more data to facilitate full spectrum dominance.

The drone's sensors are invisibly connected by signals to enabling devices on land and in space. Operational signals instruct the harvesting of data from other networked devices; domestic, civilian and military. An invisible cartography of signals nets planet Earth with instructional codes operating outside human dimensions of space and time.  

With Beware, Whispers The Wind I wanted to play with the tension between reality and virtuality. The white drone and white lines mimic the appearance of computer graphics. Is the painting an image of a computer screen? Or, is the tumultuous and colourful landscape real?  The viewer could be facing the drone, on a screen, from another aircraft or maybe you are a bird? The viewer could also be looking down upon a drone that soars upwards, the orienting graphics creating a virtual abyss. Maybe the drone is coming into land, somewhere on a screen, on a tarmac or on our collective subconscious?

But, on a distant horizon the red tree-of-life stands as a beacon. As it leans to one side it shows us the presence of the wind. Does the wind exist in a virtual world? Is the tree-of-life and the wind sending us a message? 

What do you think?


I am on a roundtable at the International Studies Association annual conference in Toronto. The roundtable will be discussing "Researching War Preparedness: Challenges, theories and inter/disciplinary possibilities". Wednesday 27th 8.15-10 am.

I am thrilled to be talking about my paintings where I suggest that signals represent a techno-colonisation of landscape from land, to sky, and into space! That these signals enable networking and interconnection  across civilian and military systems poses the question - are we in a perpetual state of war preparedness/readiness, for offensive and defensive activities? 

Researching War Preparedness: Challenges, theories and inter/disciplinary possibilities

  • Chair: Mark J. Lacy (Lancaster University)
  • Discussant: Maria Stern (University of Gothenburg)
  • Discussant: Mark J. Lacy (Lancaster University)
  • Participant: Christine Agius (Swinburne University)
  • Participant: Helen Dexter (The University of Leicester)
  • Participant: Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox  (University of Queensland)
  • Participant: Victoria M Basham (Cardiff University )
  • Participant: Hannah-Marie Chidwick (University of Bristol)
  • Participant: Sara Matthews [Wilfrid Laurier] 
This roundtable examines the possibilities and (interdisciplinary) prospects for advancing knowledge on war preparedness. In international relations and security studies, an overwhelming focus is on conflict and warfare, and while work on conflict prevention has a strong presence, war preparedness if often overlooked or only briefly addressed. War preparedness has been confined to military strategizing and predictive schemas and historicised too, with dominant associations focused on Cold War nuclear planning or civil defence during the Second World War. Preparing for war, however, is not solely an activity or ethos that is authored by state militaries. It requires the inculcation of citizens, public and private spaces and technologies, and is an ever-present part of everyday practices, images, discourses, and ideologies. Understanding war preparedness is vital for grasping how we theorise war and violence over time and space. Importantly, identifying how war preparedness is operationalised and rationalised requires critical engagement with dominant ideologies and material developments. This roundtable will explore the possibilities for theorising war preparedness and how interdisciplinary approaches may inform new approaches to understanding war preparedness and what this can also mean for peace.


No comments: