Artist Projects

Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys

Steve Rowell

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.