Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Space Net Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

A recent article "Weapons Makers Unveil A Herd of Robotanks— As the Army Worries About Battlefield Bandwidth" in Defense One caught my attention. Why? Because, it discussed how inter-connectivity and networking are vitally important for militarised technological operation and functioning. It discussed the US Army's plans for increasingly interconnected militarised hardware and systems, including air-based and ground-based robots, gadgets and weapons carried by human soldiers, autonomous systems and relay stations. However, the article highlighted a problem - networked systems that are not necessarily consistently reliable. In the military case, this is exacerbated by increasing demands for inter-connectivity, such as sharing data, and speedy transmission. So, ideas for robotised and autonomous, motile and stationary, scaffolding technologies to ensure signal relay reliability and speed, are planned.

I have been writing and painting about signals, and humanity's reliance upon them, for some time. I have a particular interest in the way signals enable contemporary militarised technology, and the appropriation of civilian technologies by militarised forces, state and non-state. I have made the argument that signals ricocheting from node to node, device to device, occupy landscape and environment, from land to orbiting satellites. I 'see' this occupation as a stealthy techno-colonisation that enables new modes of empire, and therefore, power. The invisibility of signals means we pay attention to visible hardware, placing significance on advances in hardware, and not always taking into account that without signals most hardware is rendered inert. 

A reliance on signaling, networking and inter-connectivity for militarised purposes, that can appropriate and use civilian systems, builds capacity and acts as a force multiplier. However, this reliance is also a vulnerability. Risks of deliberate interventions such as hacking and jamming, unintended consequences and phenomena such as severe solar storms, can all cause havoc and cascading systemic consequences. 

In this post I have uploaded a few of my paintings that visualise or make visible, invisible signals. I argue that by making them visible, we can see how they impose new types of  topographies. I say topographies because signals map the environment with transmission pathways or highways, they build domains that are invisible to the human being, they create terrains that enable or disable, they manifest new full spectrum spaces for battle.

 Code Empire Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

Lethal Landscape Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2018

 Mission Capable Landscape Oil  on linen 72 x 137 cm 2018

Lethal Landscape - False Horizons Oil on line 70 x 100 cm 2018

 Charting the Invisible Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2019

Martial Map Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2019

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