Aethons Massing

Trevor Van den Eijnden
Mixed media paintings
Acrylic and oil paints, gel medium, on bronze, silver or gold on canvas or board
Various dimensions.
2007—ongoing

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This is a multi-year graphic-novel-cum-dystopic-snapshots project focused on a mythologized dystopic future where nature arms itself. A reinterpretation of the Prometheus myth, it establishes as protagonists the descendants of the great eagle Acetone Aquilam, best known for its deliverance of Prometheus’ perpetual punishment. These eponym aethons depict this literal arming via a proposed fusing cybernetic enhancements with creatures of mythical origins. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s 1985 A Cyborg Manifesto, the work rejecting rigid boundaries delineating human from animal or machine. Genetic, and cybernetic animals prevail in contemporary science fiction, such as the mockingjay from Suzanne Collin’s 2008 science fiction novel The Hunger Games. These aethons, however, differ in their liberation from the manipulation of humans—they have broken the chains of bondage—thus becoming theresistance to a false human–nature dichotomy. Curiously, this narrative recalibrates existences to a nature–human dichotomy that is equally false. The resolution of this conundrum is one of the more important aspects left to be worked out, and major stumbling point for forward momentum.

 

This series has been particularly successful for myself, and my practice since 2007, yet, the work never felt fully done. As a compulsive person interested in narratives (visual or written) I kept producing, and producing. In all, the work teases out different aspects or points within the broader narrative through a suite of over 140 different paintings. After six years, however, I have come to realize that in order to be fully realized this project belongs in a graphic novel where format, and audience can meet in the right way. This possible future project will more carefully plot the work parallel to its concept, and desired audience.

 

But in the meantime I continue to work through this obsession in my studio in bursts in inside frequent intervals.