LOST SIGNALS; IMMEASURABLE OCEANS

2015 - 2018

painting series

In late 2014, I was reading a book recalling the life of Thomas Watson, a young scientist and inventor who assisted Alexander Graham Bell with the development of the telephone. During his experiments, Watson discovered how the long cables connecting his telephone could pick up background radiation, especially radio frequencies from space, emitted from the sun, and generated by the earth. Watson would lay long cables along the rooftops and sit and listen to the aesthetics of the sounds, ranging from pops and clicks, to sounds similar to human speech. He would often fall asleep on the rooftop listening to “earth radio”. A year later, the electric light became popular and these delicate noises were drowned amongst a sea of competing frequencies.

 

Staring up at the night sky of Ganguddy in the Wollemi National Park, it is easy to drawing parallels between Watson’s lost signals and the shrouding of the stars due to the light pollution generated by our modern lives. There is something primal about stargazing; an old friend which we have evolved with, the memory of it still present within our biology. It’s the reason why we feel so good when we get outdoors or interact with wildlife or ponder the sheer overwhelming scale of the night sky. In many ways, our electric modern comforts shield us from that connection. These paintings are a reminder.