Oliver Braun

The Cowmute

The Cowmute

Perhaps nowhere on Earth is the dychotomy between the hi-tecworld and and the aggricultural one quite so apparent as in NewZealand.


It’s all about loneliness and disenfranchisement in a world still full of inner-ugliness, inequality and injustice.

In the UK, my unique take on architectural and social inconsistencies brought to canvas some dramatic and highly evocative images, and now I’m turning my attention to my new home: New Zealand.

The struggle  between the opposing motivations of the modern world is immediately apparent here in New Zealand. As financial success is increasingly driven and measured by digital fads, and less so by interaction with the physical world, must this inevitably lead to the decline – and eventual demise of social interaction? As a society, are we already losing touch with what is real and tangible? More and more society panders to the specious whims of ego fueled marketeers and self styled digital gurus, as they bombard us with technobabble and rhetoric.

When the mega companies are done manipulating the online herd – when they have milked the remaining humanity from us, what will be left? When machine learning can predict our every decision, will this spell the end of free will? At a time when cognisance is at an all time low, is it healthy for machines to be “predicting” our desires? Is it still free will if decisions are made outside of conscious thought?

The first in a new series of paintings explores the link between the unchecked online herd and the big city. It’s another day on the farm, yet the digital world provides very little in the way of sustenance; Indeed, it appears only to perpetuate its own empty existence and is, in effect, akin to a cartel that pays wages with tokens that can be spent nowhere but in its own shops.

Whether we love it or hate it, many of us already have neither the inclination, nor the motivation to do anything but follow the herd.