Each work features the progress of the three sets of happy-go-lucky siblings, superimposed onto the ‘Floodscapes’ using state of the art digital technology. Goto’s technique is at its best in ‘Barbecue at Cliffe Pools’. Here the crest-fallen Hooray Henry types are glowing only from the warmth of a fire. Digital technology paints firelight and its reflection to a quality equal to the medium of paint. The meagre fire at nightfall on the flooded North Kent Marshes is used to spit roast a couple of endangered birds and the embers offer warmth to the viewer. The technology Goto uses in his work is akin to that found in the digital toys the revellers toss away when their boat hits choppy water. This reflects on which sort of technology will save the day to rescue the world from global warming. Today’s appearance-obsessed section of the media, like the fashion accessories of the girls on board, will probably end up floating in the seas along with tropical debris and free floating icebergs as in ‘High Seas’.
This commissioned work certainly engages the viewer with the subject matter. Goto cleverly tucks away in the images some solutions such as controlled inundation and marine turbines becoming part of a new ‘Floodscape’ as if to test the water with visitors. Each time the series is viewed no doubt a unique ‘take’ on the situation is formed. Science Oxford has a programme of events planned to further develop feedback the public may have regarding the images. In a city plagued by shrinking floodplains, Science Oxford is away from the hotspots and so is not likely to be one of the galleries flooded any time soon, unlike the heritage property featured in ‘Embarkation from Ham’. These works of Art are safe, unlike the stone heads that bob like drowned corpses floating next to Goto’s ‘Ham House’. It all makes me wish I had not used so much hairspray in the 1980’s but at least it was an era that sparked the pop lyric ‘I believe the children are the future’. As in Goto’s ‘Island of Children’, getting a new generation to start studying ecology now may be the answer. One positive aspect of global warming is shown in ‘Outside Tate Modern’ where a mosque stands harmoniously next to St Paul’s Cathedral. This is a global problem and can only be solved by all world citizens working together. Maybe global harmony is upstream.