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

Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys


Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys is a project aimed at investigating ecology and post-natural landscapes. It is about the rise of the machine in the age of the Anthropocene and how we understand, perceive, and experience the environment using technology – giving us a view of a life-supporting Earth that is incomplete, synthetic, strange, and uncanny.

Through the use of autonomous aerial cameras, air-monitoring sensors, and sound detectors, I present media and data gathered in the field documenting animal behavior, plant cycles, waste, displacement, erosion, and other elements of the human-altered landscape. Some of this material I’ve collected myself, some has been appropriated from various sources: federal and municipal agencies, the US military, watchdog non-profits, university research groups, and from members of the public.

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 

Uncanny valley
The cognitive dissonance caused by lifelike replicas of living things. First discovered by robotics professor Masahiro Mori in 1970, The uncanny valley is defined as a level of realism in which the human observer has a negative reaction. Any less realistic and we feel empathy; any more realistic and we can't distinguish that it's artificial. the valley in between produces repulsion, disgust, fear, etc.

  • Do we experience the uncanny valley when encountering nonhumans, those of flesh and blood or built in a lab?
  • Do other beings, sentient or not, experience the uncanny valley when encountering us?
  • Have we become undead to them?
  • Do they recognize our ruins and human-made devices when they encounter them in "nature"?

Premiere exhibition:

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
University of Oregon
January 23 to March 28, 2021
Virtual version of the exhibition
Video: In Conversation with Steve Rowell and Emily Scott

Uncanny Sensing, Remote Valleys is supported with funding from a 2013 Creative Capital award, and 2014 Mitchell Center for the Arts commission, and a 2019 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

November 2020 interview at Creative Capital.