80|1982|Turning Tide

Appletye‘s Paper Trail project brings together 100 artists each responding to the events of a given year over the last century; each artist has also been given a small piece of heritage paper from the last 100 years to incorporate into their artwork.

I am artist number 80 and have been given the year 1982 along with a small piece of Crisbrook handmade paper from the Barcham Green paper mill.

Here is my response:

80_1982_Turning Tide_Helen Stone_paper and floppy disk montage 1

80|1982|Turning Tide
Montage of floppy disk components and prints on a sheet of watermarked handmade Crisbrook paper by Barcham Green

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

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 the 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 the 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. It spread via a game shared by floppy disk.

80_1982_Turning Tide_Helen Stone_paper and floppy disk montage 2

My mixed media piece, 80|1982|Turning Tide, looks 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 – the primary use for Crisbrook paper – echoes grainy snapshots from space.

We look to the stars hoping to find a deeper meaning, a force to guide us on our 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.

80_1982_Turning Tide_Helen Stone_paper and floppy disk montage 3

80_1982_Turning Tide_Helen Stone_paper and floppy disk montage 5

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