Another Landscape Of Everything oil on linen 55 x 80 cm
Do you like Jeremy Clarkson? I do. Love his show Top Gear! For those who may not know, and there will be some who don't [I have them in my family], Clarkson is a popular, entertaining and knowledgeable presenter and reviewer of cars. You can find out more about Clarkson at TOPGEARBOX.COM's Who Is Jeremy Clarkson?
The reason I love Top Gear and Clarkson's written reviews is that I am on, what is transpiring to be, a multiple year search for THE right new car. I started looking about 8 years ago, when my car was about 14 years old. That's right, it is now nearly 22.
My car...is...a...Volvo station wagon. AND, I love it because it has plenty of room for my paintings. I can easily carry my 120 x 160cm paintings in the back, as well as my 90 x 180cm ones. Anything longer than 180cm goes on the roof racks...only for short distances...no open highway driving...and yes I wrap them tight. I can pack my car with an entire exhibition of variously sized paintings...around 24 of them!
So....I want a car that carries my paintings, but as the years have passed, station wagons and many SUVs and 4 wheel drives have shrunk. PLUS, the designers have sloped their rear ends, so that the inside back space is dramatically diminished. WHY, OH WHY?! My Volvo has a strong square back and I can stack and stack...easily. But, even Volvo has taken to sloped backs in their later model cars and SUVs!
NOW TO MORE PHILOSOPHICAL MEANDERINGS
In Jeremy Clarkson's vehicle review in the Weekend-End Australian A Plus 4-5 May [page 15] he wrote about a journey he made in a 1999 BMW 5281wagon. The journey was across Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. He made a strong argument for not giving up on your old car! Hey Jeremy I haven't!
He made another short remark that made me think and giggle.
He wrote about the 1999 BMW:
Yes, it wasn't equipped with other modern features such as parking sensors, but I solved that when manoeuvring by simply looking out the windows.
Well, I had to laugh. I tell my children that people have to be careful not to abdicate their brains to technology because come the apocalypse [natural disaster, space debris hitting an important satelite or whatever] when GPS systems, computers etc etc stop working, people won't have the practical skills to survive...OR... even think to simply look out the windows, literally and metaphorically! I get told...Mum you're so weird...! Yes, but I can parallel park, without parking sensors....first go!
I may be weird, but if people don't look out the windows what skills, of all kinds, are we losing? And, from an artist's point of view what will we miss and what will we have to do to get people to look at our work? I imagine a future where people 'look' at 'art' with media devices imbedded into their glasses... or even implants, while their driverless car sweeps across landscapes that no-one sees. I suspect short-sightedness [literal and metaphoric] will be a problem...but maybe only if people think, or are lead to believe, they do need to look out the windows. Conspiracy?
And, what about not needing to look in the rear vision mirror...now that's also a powerful metaphor!
Regular readers know of my fascination with perspective, distance and cosmology. But, I sense a collision beween dextrous visioning of perspective and a myopic romance with the kind of technology that purports to be 'helping' by making it seem unnecessary for us to look out the windows.
In an age where cosmological research is discovering more and more about the close and far distances of the Universe [Multiverse] a population afflicted with myopia will not be a great asset! Navel gazing never has been! What would be preferable is a dextrous ability to see multiple perspectives...even simultaneously. No, not the driverless car kind of propramming, but a human capacity that embraces all aspects of imagination and practicability. The kind of capacity that stretches boundaries in all directions. That's why my painting Another Landscape of Everything heads this post! And, my painting Landscape of Everything ends this post.
The image of someone sitting in a driverless car, not ever having to look out the windows [which are probably tinted black anyway] is a powerful metaphor. AND imagine if there are a number of people in the car...all being 'entertained' by technological devices, imbedded or not. No-one talks, no-one looks out the windows...the physical boundaries of the car are obvious and emblematic ...as are the imaginational ones. The screen is mistaken as a window. The boundaries are crushing.
And now, here's a conspiracy. Imagine a time in the far distant future, when humans need to leave dying Earth to find another habitable home. Up until that point in time, those that do not know to look out the windows have been content to live a virtual life via some kind of screen. At the time of departure they virtually leave, whilst those who practise perspective...looking out the windows...are safely propelled towards a new home.
I hasten to add I am not anti technology. I grew up in a house where we always had the latest and greatest new gizmos...my Dad is a HAM radio enthusiast...need I say more?!
And, I love the irony of me writing this on a computer screen and you reading it on a screen of some kind.
Below is a photograph taken in 1979 by my brother Wilfred Brimblecombe. [Yes he was up a tree] It is the main farmhouse on our parent's grain farm, our childhood home. The place was sold about 25 years ago. Notice the small hut-like building on the right of the main house. This was my Dad's HAM shack, full of all kinds of electronics. Also, notice the tall aerial just in front of the HAM shack...it sent and received many a communication.
South Panorama of Glencoe Farm Homestead on Pirrinuan Plain by Wilfred Brimblecombe 1979
Landscape of Everything oil on linen 80 x 140 cm
My next exhibition:
15-10-13 to 27-10-13 at Graydon Gallery, Brisbane.
I am really excited about this show. Shall keep you posted!
Something I watched recently. It's a TED talk on self compassion. And, it is great.
The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion: Dr. Kristin Neff