Dave: Open the pod bay doors, please, Hal...Open the pod bay doors, please, Hal... Hullo, Hal, do you read me?... Do you read me, Hal?... Hullo, Hal, do you read me?... Do you read me, Hal? HAL: Affirmative, Dave, I read you. Dave: Open the pod bay doors, Hal. HAL: I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
This dialogue is transcribed from the 1968 film ‘2001: Space Odyssey’, directed by Stanley Kubrick. In this scene, the antagonistic relationship between crew member David Bowman and HAL, the ship’s computer, comes to a dangerous impasse. This is one of the most seminal moments in science fiction film. This aspect of the film deals with the complex relationship between humans, technology and artificial intelligence. In this moment, David Bowman is trapped on the wrong side of the ship’s pod bay doors, in the dangerous cold of outer space rather than in the relative safety of the ship’s interior.
By painting significant props from influential childhood science fiction films and TV, Norton has referenced a number of these special science fiction moments, when the individual narratives deal with the interface between the inside and outside of deep space. Together they turn the gallery into a ‘Loading Bay’ of science fiction’s past; the jumping off point for a generation of science fiction obsessed kids.
Adam Norton’s work explores the effects of technology on the human condition. He repurposes scientific ideas from the recent past and the near future in an attempt to map out the mental and geographical landscape of our present. Using paint, print, film and 3D installation, he uses art to present the most interesting narratives and ideas about where we come from, where are we are and where we might be going. He uses the narrative of technology and science fiction as an architecture on which to hang his own ideas about mankind’s role in the universe.
In 1984 Norton was awarded a BfA from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University. Past exhibitions include: Project Daejeon 2016: COSMOS, 3rd Biennale of Daejeon, Daejeon Museum of Art, Korea, and War: A Playground Perspective, The Armory, Homebush, 2016; My Trip to Mars, UTS Gallery, University of Technology, Sydney, 2015; Conquest of Space: Science Fiction & Contemporary Art, UNSW Galleries, 2014; The Hope of Wrecks, St Albans Museum, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, and The Mars Project, Broken Hill Regional Gallery, 2013; Awfully Wonderful: Science Fiction In Contemporary Art, Performance Space, Sydney, and Boundary Line, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria, 2011; The Great Reclamation, Pictura, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2008; and The Visitors: The Australian Response to UFO’s and Aliens, Penrith Regional Gallery, 2007.
Touring nationally from 2016 until 2018, to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic tests at Maralinga, is the major group exhibition Black Mist, Burnt Country. Upcoming in 2017 at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery is Beyond belief: the Sublime in Contemporary Art, as well as artist residencies at A-Z West and 18th Street Arts Centre, both in California, USA.
Norton’s work is held in the public collections of Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane, QLD; Artbank Australia; PrintROOM, Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; College of Fine Arts Student Association, University of NSW, Sydney; College of Fine Arts Library, University of NSW, Sydney; Exeter College, Oxford University, UK and Malvern College, Worcestershire, UK.