Turning Tide

Sci-fi best-seller The Jupiter Effect predicted that a rare syzygy on 10 March 1982, which would see the major planets of our solar system all aligned on the same side of the sun, would unleash earthquakes, tsunamis and mayhem here on Earth due to the increased gravitational pull. 

On 1 March 1982, the Soviet Venera 13 landed on Venus, beaming back the first colour images of the planet’s surface – eerie rock outcrops among fine dust, 450°C+ temperatures, and a carbon dioxide atmosphere on a planet in an orbital spin transverse of our own.

At the cinema, we were enthralled by space-age visions of the future – Blade Runner, ET, Mad Max and the first computer-animated movie, Tron.

But while we looked to skies, our world was indeed shifting. 

Time Magazine hit the shelves naming not ‘Man of the Year’ as it had done for the previous 55 years (now a more PC ‘Person of the Year’) but ‘Machine of the Year.’ And, with it, came the first known computer virus to spread wild – a virus called Elk Cloner programmed by a then 15-year-old Rich Skrenta as a prank in February 1982, and spread via a game shared on a floppy disk.

My mixed media piece, 1982: Turning Tide, tries to capture some of the otherworldly mood of that year – the feeling of being on the brink. Replication of the floppy disk mirrors the spread of the virus while the use of print is a reminder of the primary use for Crisbrook paper – the printed effect here echoing grainy snapshots from space.

We look to the stars hoping to find a deeper meaning, a force to guide the way, but life is more chaotic – a fizz of experimentation in perpetual motion. We are all loose cannons – a hubbub of tiny, individual creative wonders x 7.632 billion (4.618 billion in 1982; 1.6 billion in 1900).

The world keeps spinning. The tide turns.