Sunday, October 03, 2021


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

I've lost count of how may paintings are now in my Theatre of War series. I think maybe 12 or 13. 

Theatre of War: Infrared continues my investigation into how Clausewitz's ideas of the theatre of war can inform critical approaches to contemporary war. I am also interested in how Clausewitz's ideas may reach their limits with the contemporary mutation of war into a kind of everywhere-ness - like a contagion. In my first Theatre of War post and painting, I explain my interest in Clausewitz. 

Theatre of War: Infrared is also a continuation of my research into the increasing military interest in the electromagnetic spectrum [EMS], as an enabler of technology, a type of fires, a manoeuvre space and a domain. I have painted a cloud-like array of circles against a red sky. Signals transmitted by various frequencies in the EMS are indicated by full lines or dotted lines. These lines visualise a signalic occupation of our extended environment, from land to space-based assets. I 'see' this as a force of techno-colonisation. The fake clouds are a clue!

The red background could be many things, a fiery war zone, a heated planet, or the use of infrared frequencies for communication, high energy lasers or detecting warm things. The latter feeds into surveillance and targeting. Ever since my pest controller showed me how his infrared camera could detect pests, the association of infrared with pest control has stuck in my mind. With this in mind,  surveillance and targeting using infrared technology could be described as acts of an exterminator.  


* Please check out Dr Beryl Pong's article "The Aesthetics of Drone Warfare", The British Academy, September 2021. Happy to say she mentions my work, which was included in an exhibition Dr. Pong curated last year. I also presented at the Aesthetics of Drone Warfare conference at Sheffield University in February 2020 [when we could still go places!]. Dr. Pong leads the Aesthetics of Drone Warfare research project.  

* My work is also mentioned in  “Coda: the life, death, and rebirth of drone art” by Arthur Holland Michel, in DroneImaginaries: The Power of Remote Vision, Manchester Uni Press, edited by Andreas Immanuel Graafe and Kathrin Maurer.


If you have not had a look at my last post Wingman: Online Exhibition please do!


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