Sunday, November 24, 2019


Ghost Landscapes Oil on linen Oil on linen 23 x 40 cm 2019

Ghost Landscapes was triggered by thinking about digital images of landscape - recorded images of real landscapes and computer generated virtual landscapes. Given that landscape is the foundation of our lived real-world environment, does the presentation of landscape on a screen mediate our experience of our real-world environment? For example, I am thinking about GPS assisted graphics on screens, such as embedded screens in a car, or a mobile phone. Being told where to go using screen-based guidance systems [often augmented with audible instructions] reduces the need to fully orient oneself within the environment. By this I mean, looking out a car window or looking up from a phone to identify topographical or built environment cues to assist in getting from one place to another. 

Ghost Landscapes was also inspired by thinking about the increasing habit of using screen-based technology to 'entertain' ourselves while travelling as a passenger. If not 'entertaining' ourselves, we continue to work - email, write or examine reports etc. These diversions also reduce real-world interactions with landscape. Simply looking out the window, except momentarily, is a rarity. 

Ghost Landscapes was also inspired by thinking about targeting and surveillance imaging technology, for example, used on an airborne militarised drone. Viewed through targeting and surveillance devices landscape is preemptively positioned as a site of potential mal-intent, misdemeanor, battle, death-in-waiting and/or necro-site. Overlays of computer graphics, such as orienting and targeting graphics, change landscape with occupying intentions and forces most of us are unaware of. 

So, why give this new painting the title Ghost Landscapes? If landscape is occupied, but this goes unnoticed by over-entertained or over-worked people, does this represent a death of landscape? If screen-based representations of landscape become proxy environments, what happens to considerations of real-world landscape as a foundation for environment? Does increasingly persistent surveillance render real-world landscape a place of hostage? If surveillance leads to targeting to sell or targeting to kill, how can landscape provide places of refuge and safety? 

Landscape is falling away from us...........................................

And, as we fall too, there is more to say ..................................

Maybe the ghosts will catch us?



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