Last June I read this essay by Asimov that he wrote fifty years ago in 1964. He had visited the World’s Fair and was speculating on what life will be like fifty years from then. He wrote about what it would be like to visit the World’s Fair in 2014.
Asimov called our obsession with machines ‘Gadgetry’. He talked about the impact of machines on our future. Some of the comments are funny today as he described how we’d be able to ‘direct dial’ and make transcontinental calls, or how we’d be hovering above the sidewalk with jet packs on. Some of his insights were depressing as he imagined we’d all be living underground so as not to ‘waste space on ‘human occupancy’, and we’d all be suffering from the ‘disease of boredom’ because machines would take care of all the work.
Asimov’s essay inspired each piece I painted. The titles come directly from Asimov’s descriptions of the future. Although his sentiment written fifty years ago can at first read as a sense of impending doom for the future, I approached my work without any particular judgment.
I focused on a couple of ideas: One was our connection and disconnection with nature. My landscapes are abstracted and flattened as I imagine our inability to really see anymore. My landscapes evoke a sense of space, using colors that harmonize and images that suggest the technology is a present and at times obscuring a clear view.
The other idea I focused on was our relationship with the world around us. Asimov talked about the ‘lucky few’ who are creative because the rest of us would be tending a machine. Sure we are ‘distracted’ and technology has a huge presence in our lives and perhaps flattens the landscape and limits our perceptions of our surroundings… Because the landscape is suggested, and not quite literal, does not mean it doesn’t exist. Perhaps the way we perceive the world around us does shift. The technology influences and permeates that existence.
My work in this exhibit reflects people and surroundings dominated by technology, but not necessarily in a negative sense. People may appear to be ‘plugged in’ and not quite aware of surroundings eroding around them, but they are comfortable in that space. It feels that you, the viewer is the one intruding in that personal space. I want the viewer to respond to my work, to be drawn in and wonder about the subject.