Victoria, Australia (1974), lives and work in Hobart, Australia

The Yearning  2021

acrylic painting, paper, embedded AR

Commissioned for Rethinking Nature

Courtesy of the artist

Tricky Walsh navigates between science, philosophy and speculative fiction in works that range from painting to text and sculptural installation. The wall installation The Yearning, incorporating texts in Italian and English, geometric patterning and embedded AR, is conceived as a work of fiction and takes as its point of departure a short speculative text written by the artist. It reflects on the mediation of relationships with nature through technology and mind-altering substances, notably the anti-depressant opiates today widely distributed by pharmaceutical companies.

Artist statement

The Yearning is a mechanism, a series of plans for a device, a blueprint for some terrible plan we didn’t read the fine print on before signing up for. I live in an image of paradise. It’s an image because the reality rarely leaves our shores. We are instead, a postcard or a desirable tourist destination. Increasingly, a site for wealthy climate refugees. I live in an image of paradise but increasingly I surely live in a virtual network of images and information that situates me in a place that has little to do with geography and makes me behave in a way that has more to do with rats and mazes than humans and nature. Game designers have these ten stages of emotional and psychological satisfaction that ensure that you keep playing their games. They’re a lot like the algorithms they develop for gambling machines and also for social networking apps. Little red flag, little burst of dopamine. It’s incredible that we keep making things that tickle the addiction button in our brain and are then surprised when we are confronted with the inevitable. We do a lot of things in the name of progress and convenience. Strangely, my paradise grows half the world’s opioids. I didn’t know this until I started wondering about the vast expanses of white flowers that dot the highways and hide behind razor wire fences across the island. We feed a horrible drug crisis in the northern hemisphere, but also we’re just providing a whole bunch more little red flags that need attending. The Yearning is a work of fiction. I work with speculation and science fiction because I’m too optimistic to come up with reality.