Steve Rowell’s “Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys” at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art


January 23, 2021


Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
University of Oregon
1430 Johnson Lane
Eugene, OR 97403

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Drone’s eye view of the sinking landscape around the San Jacinto Monument marking where the decisive battle between Mexico and Texas occured in 1836. Some seven decades later, oil exploded from this same soil and the global petroleum-based economy had begun. Water extraction for this industry and the ever-spreading cities on this coastal plain has resulted in extreme subsidence of the land, endangering natural ecosystems and anthropic places such as this alike.

Steve Rowell’s Creative Capital Project, Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys premieres at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. 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.

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