Locust Jones Documents the 24hr News Cycle

After an artist residency in Beirut in 1999, Locust Jones (1963-) had a realisation: he had the story all wrong. Through his time in Lebanon, it became clear that his understanding of the region had been founded upon a deep, unnoticed bias in the media he had been consuming. From then on, his work became obsessed with sorting through the complex web of international news media and finding where truth could be found.

Brainfog (2015) acts as a chaotic record of the 24-hour news cycle in the period between April and June 2014. Across nine metres of paper, ink drawings mark events like the Syrian civil war, gas fracking, the risk of Canadian brown bears going extinct, his recent travel to Mozambique, and the Russian incursion into Crimea, among many others.

By obsessively drawing the events as they occur, he creates an overwhelming depiction of what is disseminated through our screens and papers on a daily basis. When we consider the sheer amount of information we consume every day, the title of the artwork begins to feel extremely apt.

However, Jones’ art is not about disengaging. In a media landscape where coverage is intense and constant, Jones acknowledges that it becomes easy to ‘forget what happened yesterday’ and lose a critical eye. He states that his work can be an indirect way to remind people of things they have forgotten years into the future.

Jones’ art questions why particular disasters or wrongdoings are rendered as just a single thought in an ongoing stream of consciousness – even events which have an enormity that should or could mobilise necessary social change.

In this way, Jones’ art-making moves from overwhelming to actionable. Through creatively recording this constant flow of information he encourages audiences to pause and consciously reflect on the world. From this may emerge a newfound sense of clarity and resolve.