University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Steve Rowell: Uncanny Sensing


June 21 – September 15,  2013

Steve Rowell: Uncanny Local

Steve Rowell, Opening Weekend, Deer Season 2012, Navarino Wildlife Area, Wisconsin , 2012

Through the use of autonomous camera systems, camouflaged sensors, and remote audio monitors, this exhibition will present raw media from the field — animal behavior, industrial processes, erosional effects — in an immersive video and sound installation.

Relying on unmediated (or minimally mediated) raw media, Steve Rowell reduces his role as an artist in the conventional sense (as photographer, recordist) and expands his role as interpreter, editor, and curator of the landscape. This is a conscious experiment in subtracting the anthropic bias from the creative process in favor of direct data. Field experiments and durational installations of equipment will include: aerial surveillance cameras, motion sensing wildlife cameras, climate sensors, and submersible robots. The resulting installation will feature video and audio extracts from the collected media from each sensor, camera, and listening device.

By experimenting with techniques of sensory perception in remote places, this project aims to create a new perceptual territory for the viewer to engage with. This exhibition is the first substantive research towards a larger project that will span the continent titled Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys aimed at investigating the philosophical dilemmas of the anthropic principle. Beneath the technological elements of the project are evocations of animism, activism and indeterminacy.

Steve Rowell is an artist, curator, and researcher whose transdisciplinary practice focuses on overlapping aspects of technology, perception, and culture related to the landscape. In addition to being Program Manager at The Center for Land Use Interpretation since 2001, he has collaborated with SIMPARCH and The Office of Experiments. Rowell recently received a Creative Capital grant in support of Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys.