Diogenes and the chicken

diogenes_web
Acrylic on canvas 762mm x 508mm (30″ x 20″)

Diogenes is my favourite ancient greek philosopher.

Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also responsible for publicly mocking Alexander the Great.

Here I have painted him holding a plucked chicken, a reference to one of his infamous run-ins with Plato.

Plato liked to ‘interpret’ Socrates, and on one occasion spoke of his definition of man as a “featherless biped”.

Allegedly, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.”

diogenes_detail

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fffarage (2015)


fffarage_web
acrylic on canvas 250mm x 300mm

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New Activity in your Timeline (2015)

Approximately 4 million years ago, our ancestors adopted Bipedalism, freeing up their hands for more dexterous activities.

However, in recent years, our sophisticated tool making skills have resulted in the creation of the smart phone. A scrying mirror so compelling, that we willingly give up the use of one of our hands, disengage from the present moment, and hunch over our devices, literally deforming us.


timeline_web
acrylic on canvas, 405mm x 510mm

You can buy the original, and prints at Saatchi Online

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Harold Pinter(2015)


pinter_web
Acrylic on Canvas, 508mm x 406mm

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2014 review of the year

Trite as it may be, the end of the year offers an opportunity to review our deeds, and plot future (mis)adventures. Herewith, a review of my year of aesthetic experimentation, 2014.

The year started with messing with the media of political discourse. Both David Cameron, our Prime Minister, and Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, released ‘New Year’ messages. The blandification of British politics was laid bare by the similarities between the men and the vacuous messages. I’ve algorithmically blended politicians before, but this time I (mis)used the marvellous Echonest API to literally put their words into each other’s mouths.




I crashed my bike in February, getting knocked out, breaking some bones and being saddled with Trochlear Nerve Palsy. I subsequently spent 5 months with an eyepatch, inciting pirate jokes wherever I went. Not much art was produced for a while as a result, and I had to learn to paint with one eye. I did manage to speak at #pydata, whilst still somewhat concussed.

Inspired by the lies and clickbait which seem to make up much of the internet, I released a lying twitterbot. @factbot1 makes up facts, finds a suitable image, and posts them online every 4 hours. The account is still running, and as I write this has just produced it’s 1,500th lie.

Then there was @hipsterbait1 – an experiment in algo-commerce. Could a bot produce a work, and offer it for sale through a third party, automatically, without any human intervention? The bot produces t-shirts that mash up images and references, primarily in the domain of band t-shirts. Unfortunately, my plans to retire on my algo-generated fortune were nixed when Zazzle quickly refused to actually print them.

bffbot1

June brought one of the more sophisticated bots of the year, @bffbot1, an algorithmic stalker who aimed to be your best friend, writing you poems and spotting you in the street. She was very popular, particularly with the Turkish (not sure why) until she was killed by Twitter in October.


September was filled with curating and producing The New Sublime at Brighton Digital Festival – a fantastic group show of some of the finest artists working with digital technology.

It was a busy month where I finished a series of 13 paintings called ‘pissed off primates‘, and embarked on a brief international speaking tour which took me to Canada, London and Bournemouth.


At the end of October I produced another bot which also fell foul of Twitter – a simulation of social infection called @algobola

I also knocked up a bot with all the answers, painted Rik Mayall and Chris TT. I got some robots to perform Waiting for Godot, built systems to scrape folk fan art from twitter, compress great works of fiction, and most recently excise the face of Nigel Farage.



So that’s my 2014 in a nutshell, expect more of the same in 2015 – follow me on Twitter and be amongst the first to know…

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