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The rate of r/evolution of change in our metropolitan urban environments grows daily faster. Every time we venture forth from our homes/shelters we find new signs/stimuli transforming our world view, obscuring the familiar signs and symbols of the past. Whilst the patterns of the new may obscure the forms of the past, they are nonetheless their product.
But the familiar is never really the same, it is always effected by context, and the context is always changing. We have become over-familiar with the concepts of multiplicity and ubiquity. In desiring the unique we repeat the old formulae. In the Real world we find the same products, corporations, symbols, in centres anywhere -Macdonald’s in Moscow, Disneyland in Tokyo, Venice in Las Vegas, the same designer clothes, the same hit records/dances, and Coca Cola everywhere.


For decades the Art World has told us that objects and/or piles of them, are transmuted into something greater than the sum of their parts by being installed in specific labeled buildings and by being further labeled by beings of authority/superior intelligence, the context and the content of the description emerging as having primary significance, the object in service to the social hierarchy.

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In the Virtual world we are potentially presented with THE LOT. Everything, anything, anyone, whatever imaginable, anywhere. And all available now, instantly, or as near as. If you are rich enough to afford access that is.

The aesthetic consequences of change in the Real world lead to conflict over the boundaries between the desire to preserve the treasures of the past -always the Golden age -and the need to accommodate the growth and expression of the present


The concepts of Modernism derived from an early 20th.Century viewpoint that saw the past in memory, in idealization, in simplification. We entered the Post-Modern age 3/4 of the way through the last century when the past began to be experienced as part of the On-Going Present; always documented, recorded, never erased, never forgotten. Turn on the television wherever you are and watch I LOVE LUCY or BEWITCHED, any day, any time, in the continuous present, forever.

The print boom with the still photo, all the New Media of the 20th Century, the moving image, and sound capture in all it’s analogue and digital forms, records and replays the present, of both cultural groups and of the individual life, in ever greater detail, in ever greater volume, in ever more formats, in ever more places. The observation and documentation of this detail of the present occupies more and more of our attention and our time.

We fill our selves with this knowledge, whilst it becomes the recent past in the process. We are swamped with minutiae, quantity, volume. Where once there was silence now there is continuous manufactured sound. The sounds we now make and hear echo and repeat the sounds of the past, just as the images we see are more and more informed by and referenced to the images of former times.


Whilst these sounds, images, structures, co-exist as part of the on-going present, the contexts that created them don’t. The Mediated sound/image has a future that our personal reality doesn’t. We die, the media remain, and in doing so create a new reality, a new perception of second generation, second-hand experience, in an exponential growth of received information, whether it comes in the guise of news, gossip, entertainment or art. Out of the confusion of contexts (places, causes, circumstance, and time) of these mediated visions and recordings, we evolve a new perceptual relationship between the ideas/styles of the past and the present. It will never again be possible to try to erase the thoughts of the past as in The Chinese Cultural Revolution, the resources required would be too great, thought control would have to be both planetary and virtual.


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We are surrounded on all sides, both in the real and the virtual worlds, by sounds/images/ideas that a generation ago were only the subject of Science Fantasy, now everyday common reality. We integrate one with the other continuously, automatically, intuitively. We gulp down doses of information daily like the air we breathe. We are infused continuously with mediated colour, shape, sound, form, texture - harmonic or discordant, in every urban, suburban, or communal context we find ourselves in. Stillness becomes a premium. We are disturbed by sensation.
We document and endlessly replay our lives and deaths. Future biography will track the subjects’ CCTV appearances along with credit card records and cyber-space projections, since all this documentation will always be available, will always remain for the conceivable forever in all our interactions between the real and the virtual world in all it’s mediated forms.

Whilst the Present may remain forever reflected in cyberspace, no-one will be ever able to explore all but a fraction. The Virtual world will hold more sparkle than the real by the very nature of it being reflected reality. These worlds integrate into a Cyber Hyper Reality in which our living spaces will be defined by holographic/3D wall-screens through which we may shop, communicate with others anywhere anytime, or be entertained by anything to our own selection (however we arrive at choice), or by inter-active connections that control the movements of our bodies or the thoughts of our minds, whilst connected.
This Is the ever-closer approaching near future for us, or at least some or us, sometime, very soon. For millions this life-style will only be glimpsed, whilst other millions will know of no other existence. As all existence is the result of conflict, if only with gravity, the conflicts between these two extremes of co-existence, essentially that as ever of the poor and the rich, the Art and Aesthetic in whatever form it manifests of this Cyber age, must by the nature of Art, attempt to communicate across these divides, and be expansive. An art of inclusion from the personal to the general in an all-inclusive iconography, since all perceived realities co-exist however unequally. We see death, destruction, terror, suffering, despair daily happen to others in millions on our TV screens, whilst we are led to desire to see our own reflections on the same screens (but not in the same circumstances): the horror of reality, crossing with the mythological glamour of mediated culture.
We all go there, from the personal to the general, from hope to despair; the media seduces. We study the trends, attempting to define a cutting-edge where expression evolves into a new dimension, so that we may transcend the whatever.And this interaction transforms our existence, both in general terms and in the personal realm. We are all unique individuals, yet essentially identical in kind. We all share birth, growth, decay, death. Yet each individual path between these fixed events is unique to each individual. More and more the tracks of these individual paths will remain accessible to the real world creating change through the very presence of their reflected existence. IMAGE futureaesthetic07.jpg
This is a piece of my personal individual on-going present in the real world and it’s reflection in the media/virtual world. I am an individual much like you, and my path much like yours is unique. I don’t know where it will take me. I do know it will end somewhere, sometime in the Real world. It began in 1945 the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
I was born In a small English country village In the heart of an army base, where I spent the formative childhood years. I played outside my family’s chemist shop we lived above; with houses on one side of the road only; tanks rolling past our door, and what I took to be a forest at the top of a hill, next to the end-of-the-line steam-railway station that ultimately lead to London where my parents had moved from and from where exotic-to-me relations would arrive on visits. We played also in the shop’s conservatory amongst the discarded advertising placards and display dummies from the cosmetics’ counter. Somehow in my late 30s I became a life-size cut-out in cosmetic adverts on TV screens and hoardings across Japan, briefly.
In between, I spent most of my time making Images In paint whose causality and connections I often wonder about. The images I create are celebratory, spiritual and philosophical. They have placed me unexpectedly amongst the contemporary echoes of my own earliest form of received iconography, and then of course, likewise discarded.
As a child music lead me to dance, in my adolescence I started painting; music/dance and painting were my passions. I moved from the country to the outer suburbs of London in my late teens. Always an outsider in the country, if only by virtue of my family origins, I was no more at home in the suburbs. Whilst still at school I found the start of a sense of identity in a small dingy basement jazz club behind Leicester Square where I became a regular and so later happened to be amongst the small audience for an unknown band who played new versions of the soul and blues music I loved. They were the Rolling Stones.
I entered the Media World when my first painting was exhibited and published in the local newspaper under the banner shock headline “Nobody knew a 14 year-old schoolboy had painted it”. This was rural England in 1959; the Gallery embarrassed to discover my youth, instantly re-hung the abstract canvas, titled “Cosmic Consciousness” in a distinctly less prominent spot. I wasn’t to know watching the unknown Rolling Stones, that they would enter the Virtual World In such a major way, but the Mediated world was a mere shadow back then.
I studied Architecture briefly at the Regent St. Polytechnic in London, leaving home and the suburbs in the process. I went to Chelsea Art School in 1964. Some of my flat-mates had a band and they rehearsed and made light-shows at home. They were called the Pink Floyd. Later on, other close friends became known as T.Rex. I still live In the same home I first shared with SydBarrett in 1968.
At art school my work moved from being sculptural through Minimal, Conceptual, and Constructivist phases, to a Hard-Edge Post-pop conceptually derived figuration. I left college with a scholarship that took me on my first visit to the United States and my perspective on life was never the same. Back in England, I started selling paintings hand-to-mouth. Pictures appeared in the ‘International Herald Tribune’; I had my first one-man show In Cork St in 1971 and received commissions from Stanley Kubrick (I did one, and declined a 2nd).
In New York I was told “Listen boy, you’ve got a big future”. In Paris I found myself being introduced as “important”. By the mid ‘70s my work included many elements that were later defined as Post-modernism. My work, my home and my appearance began being focused on in magazines from all over, Germany, Japan, Australia, U.S.A, France, Italy. I had entered the Global Downtown, to a degree.
In Tokyo in 1983, sponsored by Shiseido, a gallery was created especially for what was my largest exhibition, and I was featured with paintings in a nationwide advertising campaign on television, in magazines, in stores, on billboards, for a season, and then replaced like the placards of my childhood. As a product of these mediated resonance’s of my life on my life I would later in Australia find myself identified as a Japanese Pin-up, whilst in Austria images were reproduced onto wet-suits for wind-surfers (pirated naturally); a poster of a painting was shown with a Van Gogh in the news on French television as France’s student favourite: in India copies of my paintings adorned Bombay movie set walls; whilst in Japan, they were copied onto trashcans.
The daily pursuit for hours on end of such a liquid medium as paint within the confined space of the canvas picture surface Is a private, quasi-mystical, and certainly curious activity on which to spend the larger part of one’s conscious life. The public response Is equally curious, of course.
The relationship to this response is, of necessity, ambivalent. In every major city I have visited wherever, some stranger has identified me and/or my work. Usually they have been kind. Some have become good friends. Some have been disturbing, alienating. They respond to the mediated image they have seen, usually all they have glimpsed. Reactions have varied with these encounters; I have been stared at in amazed delight, jumped-up-and-down next-to with excitement, screamed at, been kissed (passionately), had someone prostrate themselves at my feet, been followed, been forced to leave somewhere because my presence was causing too much attention, and been photographed and been photographed till I freaked.
Meanwhile back in the Real world where I actually live, and without the mediated image, strangers have had equally differing reactions to my presence. These include a majority who are polite, kind, appreciative, and other encounters where I’ve been ignored, dismissed, humiliated, bullied, frightened, jeered at, laughed at, ridiculed, abused, spat on, chased, attacked, wounded, scarred. The mediated reflections of my life have themselves varied from the kind to the abusive. They have always contained an Inordinate amount of questioning as to why I do what I do. Always a demand for words to explain Images.
Our identities and self-awareness are invested in many inanimate objects, clothes, cars, houses. Beyond their utilitarian function they are measured in terms of appearance, taste, style, status. Our constant awareness of self flows outwards to include these objects of our extended identities. Our self image is internal, conceptual. The extensions are external, perceived by the senses. Images/sounds communicate directly to the mind through wavelength reception. Words require interpretation, they are a contextual tool for communication, a result of conceptualization. The semantic resonances of images can never be translated more than partially by any assembly of words.
The new media of the digital age allows more combinations of all to co-exist in the continuous present, Infinite opportunities for new synthetic constructs. We are of necessity the Primitives of a New Sensibility, born In the Virtual Age. This new sensibility, this new aesthetic willbe inherently Maximalist.

(A MINI-TREATISE formulated back when my own work started to become directly digital attempts a verbal description later set to music). MAXIMALISM = MINIMALISM with a PLUS PLUS PLUS.... MAXIMALISM Involves the Individual use of order to create chaos, and vice-versa, In the tradition of the high/low art experience of life-force through self and surroundings, both Inner and outer be It In gallery or gutter, expressed through Images/sounds that haunt the Imagination through colour/form and content, to growth both personal and societal, In the acceptance and celebration of the on-going change that Is the only constancy of life/death .whose logic Is witty, sometimes. MINIMALISM, less is less more or less, leads to stasis. It is overcome by gravity, overdue for the inevitable change. MAXIMALISM, it’s bigger little brother, is the new cause celébre. INCLUDE ALL EXCLUSIVELY. CONQUER DIVISIVE IDEOLOGY. MAXIMISE TO THE MAX.

We are only just beginning to see the signs of this new aesthetic growing out of the synthesis of experience between the real and virtual worlds. Already Museums/Galleries are emerging as the new Cathedrals/Churches of contemporary culture; whilst Department Stores/Supermarkets become centres for cultural distribution and brands, labels, and logos evolve the identity of tribes and creeds.


The Icons of our age reflect their presences In the virtual world Into the Infinite future In ever greater detail In ever greater number. More millions of us than ever In History experienced through the mediated world at the same moment the same diverse series of emotions at the sight of the funeral of Princess Diana. The Harrods shrine to Diana & Dodi, at the foot of the Ersatz Egyptian escalators In the Department Store that now Is more an attraction In It’s own right than anything It supplies, Is the only point there which a spectator Is permitted to photograph. The spontaneous mass placements outside the Palace gates were a maximal Installation. The new Tate Bankside Gallery will ultimately rise above it’s content, Conceptual, Minimal, Modern, Postmodern, whatever, to be a Maximalist Monument. As will the Dome, once it’s over, dismantled, and relegated to the virtual world where it’s image will gain in poignancy and therefore potency, whilst the Millennium Eye has the maximal view of the growing City.
It is the Real world’s mediated reflection that we use as the conduit for ideas/emotions continuously intuitively to inform ourselves, to communicate the necessity for fulfilling our reproductive/ survival needs, to make the reflections we so apparently need to understand what we are both as individuals and as unequal partners in a greater social unit which we may or may not feel at home with as the case may be. Sometimes.
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