Thursday, August 22, 2019

'SAD THINKINGS', RISK AND IMAGINATION



Scary Research?
I am often asked if my research into contemporary militarised or militarise-able technology makes me scared. A few people have said they feel fearful when they see my paintings. I have even had some fearful people say they don't want to hear about my research!

Fortunately for me, most people genuinely appreciate an introduction to issues associated with contemporary militarised and militarise-able technology. If they are already informed about issues, they are interested in how I visually scrutinise drones, signals, connectivity etc. The topic opens up discussions that include, for example, the potential mal-appropriation of militarised technologies by state or non-state protagonists. Many people say they enjoy being challenged by my work. Some quiz me for ages.

But, truthfully, the topic is a sobering one. Through mal-intent, accident or design contemporary technologies pose potential serious risks, even existential risks*. If they are militarise-able or weaponisable is some form or another, the risks are arguably heightened. Astronomer and cosmologist, Lord Martin Rees in his 2002 book Our Final Century: Will Civilisation Survive the Twenty-First Century? makes a clear argument that like at no other time in human history, 21st century humans are creating technologies that could cause global catastrophic impacts.

Yes, it is a bit scary!

Speed
For me, the scariest aspects of 21st century technology are the speed of technological development and the speed of technological operation. Legal, regulatory, social and cultural responses to technological development have difficulty keeping up. And, when interconnected and networked systems operate at near light speed signaling, human dimensions of time and space are excluded. To keep pace with light speed transmissions, artificial intelligence is increasingly used to monitor, react, respond. After all, it can keep up! So, where will that leave us humans?

My imagination goes into overdrive when I think about these things - and - paintings are created!

* Check out the work being done at the Centre for the Study Of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge.


Occupied Landscape Oil on canvas 76 x 76 cm 2018


POEM
My grandmother D. E Ross, wrote the above poem about me. I suspect I was not having 'sad thinkings', but at nearly four I did not know how to say 'philosophical or existential thinkings'! As a child I remember thinking about the end of life - not just mine - but all life. How far was the universe, what happened after people died, where did they go? Were we humans alone in this vast universe? What was time? I remember being a bit scared by my thoughts. As I tried to imagine, I remember feeling like my imagination would burst!  I am sure many readers remember having similar ponderings.

I love that my grandmother wrote 'long distance in her eyes', because distance is a recurring theme in my life and work. From the literal spatial distance of the landscape of my childhood and its influence on my work, to understanding how distance works in creative painting practice, to inviting viewers to fly with me in imagination in my paintings, to the distance of painting [by a human] from the contemporary technological system ie: painting can be used to critique the contemporary technological system without using digital, cyber or electronic platforms for creation, exhibition and storage.

Maybe this poem is an indication that risk analysis was possibly one of my strengths!

Maybe my grand mother's poem indicates that I would be an artist?



MY EXHIBITION 

OCCUPIED LANDSCAPES: EVIDENCE OF DRONES

DOORS OPEN TUESDAY 27 AUGUST 10 AM
POP Gallery, 381 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

More details are available HERE

I am getting ready to install the exhibition. So apart from the paintings I also need a tool kit.


 Tool kit ready for installation day 



Some of the smaller paintings packed, ready to go.

Cheers,
Kathryn

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