Tuesday, March 09, 2021


Theatre of War: Domain Dominance Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2021

This is my seventh Theatre of War painting - my series is developing! Here is a link to my sixth painting Theatre of War: Ghosts Warn, where there are further links to earlier paintings.

In these paintings I explore the notion of 'theatre of war', oft mentioned by General Carl von Clausewitz in his early nineteenth century famous tome On War. I explore the notion 'theatre of war' as a way to think about how contemporary war has seeped beyond geographic boundaries to infiltrate digital and cyber worlds, the media, social media and information. I also draw the electromagnetic spectrum [EMS] into the contemporary notion of 'theatre of war'. Why? 

The EMS is both an enabler of contemporary militarised technology and a domain of increasing military interest. Importantly the EMS also enables contemporary civilian technology. Thus, as a shared resource the EMS can clearly be described as dual use. However, I argue, that the term 'dual use' belies the complexity of contemporary technology where networking, interconnectivity and the 'Internet of Things' expose civilian technology [systems and hardware] to both overt and insidious militarise-abiliy. This militarise-ability is not just the purview of state-based defence forces, but also non-state and aberrant groups or individuals.

In Theatre of War: Domain Dominance I have tried to convey that EMS domain dominance, a direct US Department of Defence policy, extends the theatre of war into the invisible [except visible light] natural resource of the electromagnetic spectrum. Like the natural physical environment, the EMS is occupied, colonised and used for advantage. As an enabler of technology the EMS is a protagonist in the contemporary theatre of war, and as a domain of military interest it forms part of the extensive, everywhere stage of contemporary war. 

In Theatre of War: Domain Dominance I have depicted a number of black boxes, indicating secret or discrete capabilities. I have painted strings of binary code 'instructing' words like 'NODE', HUMAN', 'DRONE' and 'CLOUD'. Trees-of-life hover in designated zones, as does the group of human figures. Are they targets? Everything is connected by signals and wavelengths delivering coded instructions, data and information. Surveillance night-vision green clouds deceptively float, stored information stacked. Targeting cross-hairs on the far right indicate a possible mission - the map-like depiction of the 'stage' reveals the drama.

And - yes - there is more to say!



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