Galerio Futurisma
Art 2000-09 Click on any image for an enlargement Foundation Principles
Foundation Principles    

FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES (FUNDAMENTAJ PRINCIPOJ)


23 Nov 2002 (62/3/-21) Alkyd on acrylic base on canvas 1216 x 1014mm.
Work hours: approx. 321, commencing 13 July 2000. SOLD (Arrowtown)

English translation of the Esperanto (see Public Files art folder for the Esperanto words in Pdf downloads - this html format doesn’t support the Esperanto accents):

UNITY OF VALUES.
COMMUNITY.
UNITY OF GOALS.

The goals of the civilisation depicted: EVOLUTION, SELF IMPROVEMENT, KNOWLEDGE.

The ethical values: TRUTH, HONESTY, WISDOM, COMPASSION, EQUALITY, COOPERATION, REASON, PEACE, JUSTICE, SELF RESPONSIBILITY.

The needs of the citizens: FREEDOM, OPPORTUNITY, HEALTH, SECURITY, COMFORT, PLEASURE, FULFILMENT, HAPPINESS.

The command to all who seek to enter the stargate:-

RESPECT ALL LIFE.
DO WHAT YOU MUST TO SURVIVE, BUT DO NOT SEEK TO HARM, EXPLOIT OR CONTROL BEYOND YOUR REASONABLE NEEDS. KNOW THAT YOU SHARE THE EARTH AND THE UNIVERSE WITH COUNTLESS OTHER LIFE FORMS AND ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO EXIST.

The painting is set in the distant future in a landscape somewhat inspired by MacKenzie Country in New Zealand. Our descendents have abandoned their organic bodies in favour of potentially immortal synthetic ones. They now live mostly as galactic wanderers, travelling the universe in spacecraft and through devices like the “stargate” of contemporary science fiction. The stargate facilities are completely automated, maintained by robots like the 3 depicted. Beyond these buildings the Earth has reverted to its wild state.

Motivating thoughts: What is “civilisation”? What is “community”? What kind of common goals and values can meaningfully and sustainably unite a large group of people?

Today the word “community” is indiscriminantly used as if synonymous with special interest group, society, race, ethnic group, or public. Yet neither mainstream society or any group within it, aside from some religious and philosophical ones, demonstrates any degree of lasting unity.

Why do you choose to live in a large society? What are you prepared to give to it, and what do you expect in return? Most people want maximum benefits for least contributions. The ruling elite of most societies have treated the common people as cannon fodder on the principle that individual rights, needs, and desires must always be subservient to the survival needs of the tribe/nation (= the survival of the ruling elite). There are many instances in history where the mass of people have been slaves to the system (= the ruling elite) that is supposed to make life easier and better for them than would be the case under the “law of Nature” alternative. Religion in most of its forms seems to have evolved to serve the hierarchical society and its defence strategy of self sacrifice - “respect and obey your leaders/God without question (blind faith), be prepared to kill or die for your leaders/God if they so command you. You are the humble, willing servant of your leaders/God”.

In “Foundation Principles” the basis of “community” is a set of far reaching, high order goals divorced of any belief system. The ethical values are thoroughly practical, centred on creating a peaceful, positive and sustainable social environment. Living by these values is what the inhabitants of the civilisation must be prepared to give in order to retain citizenship. Failure could mean exile. In earlier, less automated times the inhabitants must also have been prepared to contribute some labour.

In return the civilisation guarantees to provide or at least allow for its citizens’ needs.

Ahead of all this must come “Respect all Life”. Not just the cute, the rare, or the nationalistically fashionable, but ALL living things, and especially those likely to possess consciousness. Civilisation must serve, not harm the cause of Life in the universe. That cause appears to be to survive, to spread, and to evolve, always improving upon the past. When forests are turned to desert by urban sprawl or war; when water and air are poisoned by industry; when seas are swept clean of fish to feed an ever growing mass of humanity; when supposed “environmentalists” seek to recreate the past, slaughter strong species to defend weak ones, and “cleanse” the land of “foreign” life forms; when animals are enslaved, tortured and killed by the billion to satisfy human taste buds and economic values; when our fellow humans are tortured, caged, emotionally crushed, enslaved . . . . when all this is done in the name of “human progress”, then what we see is not a noble and worthy civilisation, but a shallow facade of technological sophistication propped up by the forces of greed, arrogance and self absorption.

Esperanto, with its goal as a nationalistically neutral second language for all people to learn, has been used as a symbol of reason and human cooperation. Being able to communicate with ALL other people is an essential step in being able to cooperate with others on a global scale. Unfortunately today, thanks to academics and assorted power mongers, languages are being promoted as more than tools of communication. They have become symbols of personal and group identity. To this end we now see languages being used to trumphet innumerable national and ethnic causes and in this way they are creating or reinforcing barriers to communication and motivating petty but violently passionate divisions.

Foundation Principles
Millennium One Millennium One Millennium One
MILLENNIUM ONE (JARMILO UNU)

5 APRIL 2000 (17/2/-23) Acrylic on illustration board, 1020 x 730mm. Approx 183 work hrs.

Working on the same theme as the painting “Arrival”, “Millennium One” depicts the Wakatipu basin after the first 1000 years of enlightened civilisation. A new ecosystem has evolved, embracing both the oldest and more recent arrivals to the islands of New Zealand. That is, and always has been, the way of Nature. The remanants of human civilisation have almost entirely disappeared. The sentient beings who evolved from and replaced us are relatively few in number and don’t normally spend much time on Earth. Their technology ensures they have no need for surface roading or agriculture, and mineral resources all come from the asteroids and other lifeless worlds. All this combines to ensure the new forests will not be disturbed - wild Nature has reclaimed the entire planet while consciousness is moving on to explore and understand the universe.
Millennium One
From Mother Nature with Thanks FROM MOTHER NATURE WITH THANKS (DE PATRINO NATURO KUN DANKON)

14 April 2003 (25/2/-20),
Acrylic and alkyd on illustration board, 728 x 509mm.

A reminder of what Nature is - and isn’t. Most of us in the industrialised world romanticize wild Nature - evident in the term “Mother” Nature. Yet the creative forces and interspecies relationships around us are amoral, often intensely cruel and savage, certainly not deserving of our love or worship - just our respect.

This painting depicts the aftermath of a small asteroid impact on Earth. The NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) is the subject of comment because, with substantial help from the media, it presents itself as a compassionate guardian of “Mother Nature”. Yet the role it plays in the environment is virtually the opposite of what Nature represents and both its actions and stated values well serve to entrench the kind of human arrogance that poses the greatest threat to life on Earth.

Consider: the mission of DOC is to preserve NZ native species and wild landscapes by eliminating any threats to them. It even seeks to re-create past ecosystems on disused farmland by eradicating more recent introductions. In this respect it behaves like a tax funded gardening department, and a couple of its pet projects have included trying to exterminate rats and other introduced mammals on sub-antarctic islands, and killing self seeded pine trees “invading” high country tussock grasslands.

To what extent and for what reasons is it appropriate for us to manipulate wild ecosystems, individual species, or even individual life forms? What is an appropriate use of limited public finances - is it justifiable to give money to a gardening project when there is a funding shortage for health care and education?

Few today seem willing to question the morality of trying to save (weak) species from extinction, even when it means killing other (stronger) species to do so. Yet supporting this doctrine means encouraging people to see living organisms as mere artefacts in a grand outdoor natural history museum. The environment is primarily under threat because we and our ancestors have failed to acknowledge and respect the rights of other life forms. We have always treated other species as possessions or decorative objects subservient to our will and whims. DOC exists and gets funding not because politicians and the general public care about the welfare of other life forms, common or rare (witness continuing human population growth, industrial and urban expansion, and the popularity of a fast food industry built on the suffering and slaughter of billions of farm animals every year), but rather because native species and unique local landscapes are seen as tools for the promotion of nationalism. And nationalism keeps politicians employed and inspires a mass of people to be ever ready to work, kill and die for them.

If you genuinely care about other living things you cannot restrict your concern to just the rare, or the native, or the cute. Care must translate as respect, and for our own sake as much as for the benefit of the whole world, we should all be aiming to respect ALL life. In practice, that means not interferring in the lives of other creatures beyond meeting our reasonable needs.

As for “Mother Nature”, that is something the government funded conservation movement seems very far removed from understanding. Nature does not preserve anything, least of all weak species. It is a force of change and evolution - it progresses by exploring new combinations of species, not by resurrecting the past. Far from being a museum, the world is a dynamic living system evolving and refining itself towards some unknown destiny.

Nature is both creator and destroyer on a massive scale. All species are transient, to be replaced in time by better adapted forms that mutate from within or arrive from elsewhere. In this light, the painting is not a scene of total devastation - life is returning. The things some of us curse as “weeds” (like gorse) and “pests” because they defy our control or aesthetic ideals will at times be the salvation of life on Earth, as they no doubt have been in the past. The toughest of living things, they guarantee the survival of what counts the most - the Essence of Life, from which a great diversity of forms is eventually restored before the next cataclysmic event again challenges the balance.
Backpacker in Skipper's Canyon BACKPACKER IN SKIPPER'S CANYON

Feb 2003. Alkyd/canvas, 101 x 76cm. 120hrs. SOLD (Queenstown)
Backpacker in Skipper's Canyon
BACKPACKER AT KELVIN PENINSULA BACKPACKER AT KELVIN PENINSULA

Nov 2003. Alkyd/canvas, 76 x 51cm. 82hrs. SOLD (Auckland).
AUTUMN NEAR ARTHUR'S POINT. March 2005. Alkyd on canvas, 911 x 709mm. 110hrs. SOLD (Dunedin).
CORONET PEAK 2004. Alkyd on canvas. 55hrs. SOLD (Dunedin).
LAKE ALEXANDRINA May 2004. Alkyd/canvas, 610 x 455mm. 60hrs. SOLD (Dunedin).
LIGHT ON THE REMARKABLES Nov 2004. Alkyd on canvas, 700 x 500mm. 62hrs. SOLD (Dunedin)
MORNING LIGHT May 2004. Alkyd/canvas, 610 x 455mm. 53hrs. SOLD (Dunedin).
MUELLER GLACIER January 2005. Alkyd on canvas, 914 x 610mm. 101hrs. SOLD (Dunedin)
THE REMARKABLES. Nov 2003. Alkyd/canvas, 1000 x 800mm. SOLD (Dunedin).
AT THE TIME OF THE FALL May 2004. Alkyd on canvas, 79 x 62cm. 85 hrs. Nature reclaims the Earth after the fall of humanity. (I decided to "recycle" this canvas for another painting in 2008).
LINDIS PASS. Nov 2003. Alkyd on canvas, 76 x 61cm. 62hrs. SOLD
HIMALAYAN POPPY 2002. Alkyd on canvas, 40 x 30cm. 54hrs. SOLD (Gore).
PORTRAIT OF ANY NATION 12 April 2005. Pencil concept sketch on paper, 297 x 210mm. The mythology of nationalism tells us that people born within a politically defined border are like a big family or unified tribe with common goals & needs. We are encouraged to believe that the people who share our nationality are special, superior to any other national group and deserving of our primary allegiance. The myth is generally successful in convincing most people of the need to be cooperative within their national "family". But it also fuels competitive & dangerous attitudes towards "outsiders". Phenomenal levels of passion are unleashed during sporting contests between nations which are promoted with the language of war and frequently witness displays of violence.

People engage in acts of war and terrorism to create or defend a national identity. And what do they end up creating or saving? A mirror image of every other nation on the planet ... a tenuous social hierarchy of remarkably diverse human individuals topped by squabbling power mongers. Those power mongers use the rest of us as cannon fodder and labourers to build and protect their empires. Our blood is their gold. And most of us are happy to play along in exchange for shiny toys and various comforts.
THE HUMAN CONDITION 1 March 2005, Pencil concept sketch on paper, 297 x 210mm. One person's pleasure or dream is another person's nightmare or target for destruction. Human civilisation is a perpetual struggle to rise above a battleground of competing or conflicting self serving individual and group interests. Cooperation is limited and fleeting - civilisations are inevitably transient phenomena.
CONCEPT SKETCH: “THE GREAT CONTROL FREAKS COMPETITION” July 2000 Pencil on paper, 297 x 210mm. Society is like a comfortable bed, a fragile sanctuary in a hostile universe. Maybe the greatest internal threat to this sanctuary is the perennial competition between a host of conflicting special interest groups each of which seeks to gain control of the whole. The groups selected for this sketch are Christianity, Islam, Socialism, Communism, “Majority Rules” Democracy (which can permit a tyranny of majority values over minority rights), Indigenous First (people who think “indigenous” tribes have greater rights than others), and Radical Greens (people who believe it’s morally justifiable to sabotage activities they judge to be environmentally unsound). Of course there are many others, all presuming the right to know what is right and best for everyone.
SHOTOVER RIVER. 19 September 2005, Alkyd on canvas.912 x 760mm. 118hrs. SOLD
WHEN DEMOCRACY = TYRANNY 8 April 2005, Pencil concept sketch on paper, 297 x 210mm with Photoshop colour effects. "Democracy" is about majority rules and that can create a tyranny as oppressive as any authoritarian dictatorship. Decision making by majority vote has its place, but that must not infringe upon individual liberty more than is necessary for social peace.
BEN LOMOND ROCKS & TUSSOCK 16 Nov 2005, Alkyd on canvas, 912 x 608mm. 66hrs work. SOLD (to an English buyer).
RELIGIOUS WARS (concept sketch). 3 Dec 2005. Pencil on paper, 297 x 210mm. Proof that humanity is a species of blood lusty drama queens: not satisfied with the challenges of the real universe many of us find it necessary to speculate on the invisible and the unprovable and invent social institutions and power structures based on the resulting fantasies. These then become an excuse for people to commit all manner of atrocities against other people as the adherents of competing fairy tales battle each other "in the name of God". To an outward observer it looks as silly as a war between 2 groups who disagree on the dress code of fairies. In truth it's just another case of a handful of scheming power mongers manipulating a superstitious, gullible, insecure mass of humanity to serve their ambitions for power, wealth and territory.
QUEENSTOWN MORNING 20 Jan 2006, Alkyd on canvas, 760 x 506mm. SOLD (Dunedin).
SUNSET ON CANTERBURY Work in progress, 12 June 2006. Acrylic on canvas. When is a city too big? When is the human population on this planet too large? Despite all the problems of overcrowding in much of the world mainstream society appears unwilling to answer these questions. Governments and planning departments prefer to treat population growth as a challenge to be met rather than a problem to be averted. The economic system we live under encourages a belief in the desirability of endless growth. We must all know this isn't possible yet most people seem oblivious to the issue. Even here in New Zealand, where we can sit back and view the mistakes of overcrowded cities throughout the Northern Hemisphere just about every urban centre still equates growth with success. Dunedin, a comfortable sized city of around 110, 000 suffering the first signs of traffic congestion is engaged in a publicity campaign to attract more residents. Auckland, the largest city in the country is expanding into arable farmland and struggling with power supply issues and a severely strained transportation network. Yet instead of calling a halt to growth the city planners prefer to look to increasing the power supply, expanding the roading network and increasing housing density. With this attitude the entire planet should eventually look like Manhattan Island. Technology may solve the pollution and resource issues but the consequences to other forms of life on this planet will be disastrous (nearly all will face extinction or life in captivity). Of the social issues that will need to be resolved the most significant are likely to be greatly reduced personal freedom, minimal personal space, zero opportunity for land ownership, & ever increasing housing costs. The social tensions of such an overcrowded society will surely be intolerable. Many of us have the arrogance to condemn rabbits and other rampantly reproducing animals as "environmental pests" deserving only a quick death, yet we behave similarly despite the advantages of "intelligence" and "free will". For the sake of the Earth, all life and humanity we must hope that a wave of common sense sweeps around the world very soon and people everywhere choose to make zero to one child families the norm for a few centuries. Failing that our fate will necessarily take a particularly cruel form: we've been lucky to stay ahead of plague diseases for the last century but eventually we'll lose and our growing population density will make the result much uglier than the Black Death. That or conflict & cannibalism always has been the miserable fate of "pest" species unable or unwilling to control their own numbers.
LIGHT AND SHADOW

15 Nov 2006. Alkyd on canvas, 760 x 557mm. Work hrs approx 73.
SOLD.
WAVE CLOUD OVER LAKE WAKATIPU 20 Feb 2007. Alkyd on canvas, 759 x 505mm. Work hrs approx 63. SOLD.
WALTER PEAK 23 Apr 2007. Alkyd on canvas, 605 x 505mm. Work hrs approx 121. SOLD.
DUNEDIN SUMMER DREAMING. 31 August 2006 . Alkyd on canvas. 505 x 405mm. Work hrs approx 117. The man I'd like to be. Tentatively finished - if I can find a guy who looks like this to pose for me I might improve upon it.
BEN LOMOND FROM WEDGE PEAK. 24 May 2007. Alkyd on canvas. 607 x 455mm. A Queenstown landscape. Work hrs approx 96. SOLD.
CHANGES (aka The Remarkables: 8 Views Through Time)

22 July 2007. Alkyd on canvas, 1215 x 607mm. Approx 378hrs work.

Change rules the universe. Most of us fear it, collectively we spend enormous sums to fight it, even dedicating government departments to the job (the Department of Conservation), but in the end all things are transient and everything will be lost as new lives, new species, new vistas, new star systems replace old.

SOLD, Dunedin.
 
CULTURE CLASH
30 July 2007. Concept sketch, pencil on A4 paper.

Inspired by the innumerable news stories and TV medical dramas we all witness celebrating the heroic achievements of modern medicine. ER and surgical "miracles" certainly make emotionally engaging stories, but the gains for individuals are often questionable - great suffering endured for a few extra months or years of low quality life. Add to that the financial cost to society - we can't afford to go on like this.

Contrast this obsession with prolonging life at any cost to the other groups of humans who eagerly engage in wars, promote capital punishment , or celebrate suicide missions in the name of some god or political cause (or both).

Inconsistency, hyprocrisy, madness, stupidity, irrationality, cruelty, fear and passion rule the human world. We need to discover a sane, rational, compassionate means for viewing the universe and our place in it. We need to accept personal mortality without rushing to kill or die. Medicine needs to move away from the effort to prolong life and focus on the quality of life.
ARROW JUNCTION BARN 24 Aug 2007. Alkyd on canvas, 759 X 505mm. Approx 121 wk hrs. SOLD. Dunedin.
RICHARDSON MOUNTAINS FROM BEN LOMOND 12 Nov 2007. Alkyd on canvas, 709 x 557mm. Approx 101hrs work. SOLD. Dunedin
MT COOK

23 May 2008. Alkyd on canvas, 760 x 608mm, approx 128 work hrs. SOLD, Dunedin.

TASMAN GLACIER

18 July 2008. Alkyd oin canvas, 760 x 608mm, approx 130 work hours. SOLD (Dunedin - to a Wellington buyer).

MT BLACKBURN

24 Aug 2008. Alkyd on canvas, 760 x 607mm, approx 184 hrs of work. SOLD by Gallery de Novo, Stuart St, Dunedin.
MT COOK FROM MT OLLIVIER

9 Oct 2008. Alkyd on canvas, 659 x 505mm, approx 115 hrs of work. SOLD.

RHODODENDRON

9 Dec 2008. Alkyd on canvas, 405 x 405mm, approx 91 work hrs. SOLD (Dunedin)
THE UPPER MATUKITUKI VALLEY

9 Feb 2009. Alkyd on canvas, 760 x 608mm, approx 194 work hrs. SOLD (Dunedin - to USA buyers)
MT ASPIRING

14 April 2009. Alkyd on canvas, 505 x 404mm, approx 50 work hrs. SOLD.

DUNEDIN LAW COURTS

31 March 2009. Alkyd on canvas, 407 x 304mm, approx 188 work hrs. SOLD.
AZALEA

27 April 2009. Alkyd on canvas, 505 x 404mm, approx 93.5 work hrs.
SOLD.
protea aristata PROTEA ARISTATA

29 June 2009. Alkyd on canvas, 455 x 455mm, approx 80 work hrs. SOLD.
Dunedin Towers
DUNEDIN TOWERS

20 Oct 2009. Alkyd on acrylic on canvas, 406 x 302mm, approx 238hrs work. SOLD.
Protea cynaroides PROTEA CYNAROIDES

9 Dec 2009. Alkyd on acrylic on canvas, 405 x 305mm, approx133 work hrs. SOLD.