Sunday, October 30, 2022

MAKING CODE VISIBLE: ONLINE EXHIBITION

 1. Unseen Oil on linen 90 x 80 cm 2015


2015-2022

This online exhibition of selected paintings starts wit  Unseen (above), painted in 2015. Unseen is one of my first paintings where I depict binary code as part of an overall image. In this case a colourful string of zeros and ones repeatedly instructs the word LIFE. This string of visualised code extends from a branch of the tree, depicted with a colourful array of roots. The tree could be a tree-of-life, offering another kind of 'code'. Like many of my paintings a cosmic-like background helps to create a sense of flight.

Unseen was the source of inspiration for a collaboration with Brisbane-based internationally known jeweler Margot McKinney. The small series includes a fabulous necklace that follows the graphic lines of the tree, and zeros and ones. Square cut and round gems 'form' the binary code. A series of gorgeous earrings were inspired by the spiral of binary code in Picturing the Posthuman (painting number 16). I like the fact that code has been extracted and aestheticised in my paintings and in jewels made from natural geologically formed gemstones.     


LIFE and War
The next 19 paintings start with examples of recent works, ending with other earlier paintings. You will notice that as I experiment with visalising and eastheticising normally invisible code, its relationship with militarised technology and militiarise-able civilian technology becomes more politically charged. In a world where notions of warfare now include information, cyber, hybrid, grey-zone, and network-centric warfare, the key role played by code and algorithms demands attention. 

Various kinds of violence now insidiously play out in networks, enabled by light-speed transmission and reception of signals carried by radio and microwave frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. Signals are tentacular enablers and deliverers of codified data and instructions. 

Text Prompted AI Generated Images
This online exhibition also responds to recent hype surrounding text prompted AI image generation, using datasets of human artists' images scraped from the Internet. I offer my paintings of visualised code as a disruption and resistance to algorithmically generated image making. Painting is not reliant on digital or cyber technology, thus it has a capacity for independent critique, without feeding data back into the system. Interestingly I have discovered that one of my painting, in this online exhibition, has been scraped and used in a dataset - painting number 19 Coded Landscape. The binary code, 'instructing' the word LIFE, forms a landscape-like contour. It's kind of ironic that this painting was scraped. I add here, that the image scraped was a digital image of the painting, not digital artwork. 

A few issues relating to text prompted AI generated images [not I do not call it AI Art!] include:
  1. That work created by human artists has been scraped with intent to build datasets, without consent from original artists. 
  2. Currently, text prompted AI generated images appear very similar, exhibiting a banality that flags a creeping homogenisation of aesthetics. This is a quiet kind of violence. I am reminded of a statement made by Jean Baudrillard in Passwords (2003), where he describes a digitally coded destiny where it will be “possible to measure everything by the same extremely reductive yardstick: the binary, the alternation between 0 and 1”.
  3. While AI generated images might be considered cultural activity, production or performance, it does not mean that all AI generated/assisted images are art. 

* Please click on the hyperlinked titles to take you to the relevant posts on this BLOG. 


2. Theatre of War: Techno-Seduction Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2022


In Theatre of War: Techno-Seduction visualised code is used to used to expose connections between various elements of network-centric warfare - from satellites, to drones, to military AI legal tools, to human targets. 


3.  Interface: Being HUMAN Being   Oil on linen 56 x 112 cm 2022



4. Interface Gouache o paper 56 x 76 cm 2022 


5. Competition Continuum: War  Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2021

6. ME: 01001101 01000101 Oil on linen 92 x 112 cm 2021 

ME: 01001101 01000101 is a self-portrait that poses questions about portraiture in the age of facial recognition. It also raises questions about identity and verification of identity. Louise Amoore’s concerns about “how algorithms are implicated in new regimes of verification, new forms of identifying a wrong or of truth telling in the world” 'speaks' to the role played by AI in image and identity verification. Could we, weirdly and dangerously, come to a time where verification of identity is only confirmed by a digital tick?

Louise AmooreCloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others, 5-6.


7. GOD? Oil on linen 41 x 51 cm 2019 

8. HUMAN Oil on linen 31 x 36 cm 2019 


9. Drones and Code: Future Now Oil on linen 40 x 56 cm 2018


10. Manhunting Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


11. Fake Tree Oil on linen 25 x 35 cm 2017


12. Data Heaven Oil on linen 100 x 120 cm 2017 

Code 'instructs' the word DATA in the storage centre of the fake cloud. Predominantly painted in night vision green the painting 'speaks' to surveillance and digital data storage - even after mortal death.


13. Combat Proven, Long-Range, Long-Dwell Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76.5 cm 2016


14. I Am A Posthuman Gouache and watercolour on paper 42 x 30 cm 2016

01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110000 01101111 01110011 01110100 01101000 01110101 01101101 01100001 01101110 00101110
The code above appears in my new painting I Am A Posthuman. It actually 'forms', or maybe 'performs', or otherwise 'instructs' a structural element to the 'figure'. You can guess the translation for sure!


15. A Human's House and A Posthuman's House Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 12016


16. Two Humans Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


17. I am Am I? Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


18. Picturing the Posthuman Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


19. Coded Landscape Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2015



20. Where There's Life There's... Oil on linen 92 x 102 cm 2015

Where there's life, there's hope or code?


Cheers,

Kathryn




Thursday, October 20, 2022

THEATRE OF WAR: SENSORATION

Theatre of War: Sensoration Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm 2022


Sensorium?
This new painting Theatre of War: Sensoration was inspired by thinking about arrays of sensors eg: for surveillance, detection, tracking, data sorting, airport security etc. I am particularly interested why arrays of sensors are often called sensoriums, or considered part of the general natural world sensorium of senses and sensing. I have an issue with this! While the word sensorium does contain the word sensor, sensorium is normally applied to the human or natural world sensorium, where different senses, from sight, to hearing, touch, hindsight, emotion, feeling, even sixth sense, are experienced. So, to apply sensorium to arrays of technological sensors implies an attribution of a range of senses that sensors do not have. 

To avoid anthropomorphising technology we must pay closer attention to the language used to describe capabilities. My suggestion for the sensorium conundrum is to turn the noun sensor into a verb. Thus, the scoping and detection activities of sensors are acts of sensoring, not sensing. And, thus an array of sensors could be called a sensoration (like association, or delegation). 

PhD
I add here that my thoughts are part of a broader PhD creative practice-led research project (Curtin University, Western Australia) examining increasing military interest in the electromagnetic spectrum, as an enabler of technology, a type of fires (weapon), a manoeuvre space (tactics) and a domain (strategy). 

Registering
I do realise that human beings share the world with an ever increasing array of technological sensors, and therefore there is a relationship, whether clear or not to human beings. I add here that I doubt that sensors 'know' there is a relationship! Eyal Weizman (Founder of Forensic Architecture) and Matthew Fuller  write about the sensor-sensing-human relational characteristic of contemporary life in their very thought provoking book Investigative Aesthetics: Conflicts and Commons in the Politics of Truth (2021). While using the word sensorium to encompass the sensor-human relationship, they do not scrutinise its anthropomorphising attributes. 

Weizman and Fuller do, however, mention the act of registering - of registration. The idea of registering/registration provided a way for me to think through the conundrum of using the word sensorium to encompass sensors and human/natural world sensing. I propose that both sensors and human beings register, and that this is the relational link between the sensor sensoration and the human sensorium. A sensor will register the presence of a human being and relay or store data relating to the human being's actions, condition etc. A human being may register the presence of sensors and mediate behaviour, or possibly not care. But, a human being's act of registering a sensor, or anything else for that matter, can entail an emotional reaction - even not caring is an emotional reaction. Whereas, a sensor is incapable of caring or not caring - full stop. 

Theatre of War: Sensoration
Using the symbol for light-speed ie: c, and the symbol for photon ie: y, I have painted two outer circles. Each symbol in each circle is connected by a wavy line. These lines indicate wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. This implies sensor signal connectivity and interconnectivity. An inner circle of cross-hairs coveys the idea of surveillance and monitoring, and the central cross-hair conveys the idea of targeting. This targeting could be by advertisers, information warfare bots, surveillance cameras, a drone's imaging technology or even the scoping lens of a weapon. 

Without depicting actual sensors Theatre of War: Sensoration visually critiques the idea that an array of sensors, or an environment of sensors, is a sensorium. I chose to use red and white to suggest that the sensoration - not sensorium - is a shared military and civilian space. The reliance on speed of light signal connectivity to relay data and instructions, in an network-centric world renders the civilian world of sensors ie sensoration militarise-able. 

I invite you to 'fly', in imagination, above, behind and around the sensoration. The cosmic background scape creates a distance into which you can soar. What do you see?

Cheers,
Kathryn