Steve Rowell (American, 1969). Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys, 2013-20. Images courtesy of the artist.


Steve Rowell: Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys

January 23, 2021 to March 28, 2021

Steve Rowell investigates ecology and post-natural landscapes in his multicomponent installation Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys (2013-20). The project’s title combines “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, air-monitoring sensors, and sound detectors, Rowell gathers and contextualizes media and data from the field. His presentation of this nonhuman documentation of animal behavior, plant cycles, waste, displacement, erosion, and other elements of the human-altered landscape investigates how we understand, perceive, and experience the environment through technology.

Born in Houston, Rowell has been based in Los Angeles, Oxford, Berlin, Washington, D.C., and Chicago over the past twenty years. Currently, he lives in Minnesota and teaches at the University of Minnesota. JSMA’s presentation of Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys is made possible courtesy of the artist and an Academic Support Grant awarded to previous Department of Art faculty member Euan McDonald and facilitated by Emily Eliza Scott, Assistant Professor of Art History and Environmental Studies.

Online resources:
Video: A Minute Exhibit of Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys 
Video: Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys: In Conversation with Steve Rowell and Emily Scott