Exhibitions & Events



Lost Prairie Valley

Planetary Bayou

Field Guide to Environmental Crime: Houston and the Oil Coast

Dead Zones

Extinction Simulation Landscapes

Lunar Mosaics

MacDowell Trilogy

Humans Lived Here Once

Whole Life Academy

Comfort in Hydrology

Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys

Water Castle

Radio Aporee Sound Map

Midstream at Twilight



Forest Threnody

Big Hill Petro-glyphs

Current State

Points of Presence

Brandenburg Series

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Sonic Boom Archive

Johnston Island Saturday Night

Suspension of Disbelief

Quantum Danube


Culpeper Media Bunker

A Doubting World

“... the floors of silent seas”

Background Listening Post

Regional Spatialities

Dark Places

Ultimate High Ground

American Oil Vol. I

Kleine Stücke von Berlin


Playas Townsite

Shepard Inversion Ghost


Shock + Awe

Gloom & Doom / Tactile Air

Routes of Least


Weather Radio

Site: Nonsite: Quartzsite

The Mountain Radio Project

Ballarat: Beneath Sentinel

CLUI Projects

Networked Nation


Urban Crude

CLUI Touchscreen

Texas Oil

Wendover, U.S.A.

CLUI Exhibit Posters

Pavement Paradise

Vacation: Dauphin

Dissipation & Disintegration

Terminal Island

Immersed Remains

Diversions & Dislocations

Emergency State

Loop Feedback Loop

A View into the Pipe

Ground Up

Nellis Range - Revisited

West Coast Points

The Best Dead Mall


Antarctic 1

One Wilshire

Alternate Routes

Proximity Issue

Back to the Bay

︎  ︎

© 2024 Steve Rowell


Steve Rowell

Ballarat: Beneath Sentinel

A short video shot in the winter of 2000 during early explorations of Death Valley, featuring the voice of the found-sound desert rat, Retlaw Kedzu, from the Mountain Radio Project.

Ballarat is a primary radar installation for Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and monitors the militarized supersonic airspace above the Mojave Desert. The borax mines of desiccated Trona are to the south. Emigrant Pass is to the north... Death Valley lies beyond. To the east lies the vertiginous Panamaint Mountain Range with Sentinel Peak looming above. Tourists and desert dwellers sporadically pass each other on this remote stretch of asphalt.

Ballarat is also a place, evidenced physically as remnants of a ghost town now, but far from the middle of nowhere, at least contextually. After its boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a gold mining town, Ballarat was completely abandoned at some point during the great depression. Decades later, in 1969, the few buildings that weren't destroyed by weather or fire became the site of the Manson Family's last stand. Earlier in the same year, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper shot a scene for their film Easy Rider on this bleak landscape, further intertwining Ballarat with counter-culture, true crime, and fictional Hollywood — the old California with the new.