Project: Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys

Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys is aimed at investigating ecology, post-natural landscapes, and the philosophical dilemma of the anthropic principle. It’s about the rise of machines in the age of the Anthropocene, and how we perceive the environment using technology –  giving us a view of the world around us that some say is incomplete, synthetic, uncanny. The title of the project is a reconfiguration of the terms “remote sensing” (a method of data collection from the physical world via sensors and other remote technology) and “uncanny valley” (the cognitive dissonance caused by lifelike replicas of living things). Through the use of autonomous aerial cameras, camouflaged sensors, and remote audio monitors, I will present raw media gathered in the field, documenting animal behavior, industrial processes, erosional effects, and other elements of the landscape and environment. By relying on unmediated data, I aim to reduce my role as an artist in the conventional sense and expanding my role as interpreter, editor, and curator of the landscape. Beneath the technological elements of the project are evocations of animism, activism, and indeterminacy. The project will also include a series of field workshops deploying remote sensors.

Awardee: Steve Rowell

Emerging Fields, 2013

Steve Rowell is a research-based artist who works with photography and moving image, sound, installation, maps, and spatial concepts. He has lived in Los Angeles, Oxford, Berlin, Chicago, and Washington DC over the past 20 years. His transdisciplinary practice focuses on overlapping aspects of technology, perception, and culture as related to the ontology of landscape. Rowell contextualizes the morphology of the built environment with the surrounding medium of Nature; appropriating the methods and tools of the geographer and archaeologist.

In addition to being Program Manager at The Center for Land Use Interpretation (Los Angeles) since 2001, he has collaborated with SIMPARCH (Chicago) and The Office of Experiments (London).