Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Theatre of War: Photon gouache on paper 56 x76 cm 2021

Electromagnetic Spectrum
This is my eighth Theatre of War painting. In this painting I am experimenting with how to think about the increasing interest, taken by militaries and defence departments around the world, in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) as an enabler of technology and a domain to dominate. This is particularly evident in policy and strategy documents produced by the US Department of Defence (DoD) in the last two years. An example is the US DoD's Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, May 2020 statement. 

All electromagnetic energy is made up of photons travelling at the speed of light. Photons are mass-less particles that travel in a wave-like motion. Each photon has a certain amount of energy which determines different radiation or frequencies. All frequencies in the EMS are created by photons - radio waves have lower energy and therefore longer wavelengths than gamma rays, which have the highest energy and shorter wavelengths. You can learn more at this NASA site

Electronic Warfare - Electromagnetic Warfare
As the term electronic warfare becomes a legacy term replaced by the term electromagnetic warfare, I think some focus on photons provides interesting ways to think about how the EMS, as an environment, a domain and a commons, is actively targeted for military-purpose domination. The change in terms is clearly noted in the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations May, 2020 statement page  GL-9, and the DoD's Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy, October 2020, page 26.  

Theatre of War: Photon
In Theatre of War: Photon I have painted six Y photon symbols. They are painted with wavy lines to indicate frequencies. The colours - red, blue, white and grey - were chosen after reading the DoDs Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy, October 2020 document. It describes (page 12) where data to "support operations and analysis" will be garnered ie: across a range of military and civilian sensors, equipment, platforms, activities, communications. - from entities/hosts that are hostile or adversary (red), US (blue), coalition or potentially friendly (grey) and commercial or non-military (white)." The photon symbols are painted against a cosmic-like background to indicate a universal force. Although appearing like a wall, the wavy-lined circular shape on the left is meant to shift perspective. 

Photons appeared moments after the Big Bang. They first emitted light and energy at around 300 million years . The EMS is a natural force and environment. It is part of the fabric of the universe. 

In our sphere of Earthly influence, what are the possible outcomes of militarised EMS domain dominance?        

Links to previous Theatre of War paintings are:
Theatre of War: Ghosts Warn 
Theatre of War: Spectrum  Other links are on this blog post.



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